The Cleveland Browns defensive line added an edge rusher Friday, then promptly lost a different player at the same position Saturday.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski spoke with reporters for about 11 minutes after practice on August 6, during which time he confirmed that pass rusher Stephen Weatherly had sustained a knee injury that will require surgery and cost him the 2022 regular season.
“I’m disappointed for [Weatherly],” Stefanski said. “I have a history with him going back to the [Minnesota] Vikings. Really, really solid person, just a rock solid person — so disappointed for him.”
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Browns Searching For Depth at Edge Rusher Position
Weatherly was a new addition to the Browns’ locker room this year, but even despite never playing a regular season snap for the team, the lack of his presence is going to be felt.
The edge in Cleveland is set by starters Myles Garett and Jadeveon Clowney, one of the most fearsome pass rushing duos in the league, who combined for 25 quarterback sacks in 2021. But Weatherly was slotted alongside rookie Alex Wright as the two second-string edge players on the Browns’ roster as of Friday, per ESPN.
Cleveland also drafted Isaiah Thomas out of Oklahoma in the seventh-round, along with Wright in the third, to solidify its depth at edge rusher. And even then, the front office didn’t believe it was finished at the position.
On Friday, the team signed defensive end Chris Odom, the United States Football League’s (USFL) Defensive Player of the Year. Now, with Weatherly set to miss the entire season, the Browns will likely look for another player at value to fill the space he leaves behind.
Weatherly has played six seasons in the NFL for the Vikings, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. He has appeared in 73 games, starting 17 of those contests. He has tallied 107 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss, 27 quarterback hits, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defensed during his career, per Pro Football Reference.
Most of Browns’ Poor Injury Luck Has Come on Offense in 2022
Weatherly’s injury was among the first serious blows to the defensive side of the ball this preseason, while the offense has seen more than its fair share. That is particularly true regarding the wide receiver room.
Amari Cooper, David Bell, Anthony Schwartz, Michael Woods, Isaiah Weston and Javon Wims have all dealt with at least one injury and have missed varying amounts of time since Bell first went down on July 22, five days before training camp began.
Cooper recovered from an ankle issue and is back at practice. Wims is also back. As of Saturday, Bell and Schwartz had also returned to the field, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
“#Browns WR Anthony Schwartz (knee) also back practicing today,” Cabot tweeted. “So Bell (foot) and Schwartz back, but Woods (hamstring) ‘will miss some time.'”
Cabot was quoting Stefanski from his press conference Saturday, in which the coach revealed that Woods had re-aggravated a hamstring injury that first occurred during Spring OTAs. Weston was waived by the Browns on Monday after suffering an ACL injury during practice.
Cleveland has since signed receivers Derrick Dillon and Daylen Baldwin to the roster.