Browns’ Rookie Standout Feared Injured After Late Preseason Exit

Kevin Stefanski, Browns

Getty Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns looks to the scoreboard during the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 21, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Eagles defeated the Browns 21-20. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns may be staring down the barrel of yet another injury to a contributing player, as one of their prominent rookies left the field late in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey departed the sideline for the Browns’ locker room just shy of the two-minute warning on Sunday, August 21. As of early Sunday evening, the precise injury Winfrey suffered remained unknown, as did his current health status.

A fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Winfrey is slated behind starting right defensive tackle Taven Bryan on Cleveland’s depth chart, per ESPN. If healthy, he is expected to play a major rotational role in the middle of a line that struggled mightily last season and appears again to be the biggest question mark on an otherwise above average defensive roster.

Jordan Elliott is the starter on the left side and is backed up by Tommy Togiai. Cleveland parted ways this offseason with both starting defensive tackles from 2021, Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell.

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Browns’ Edge Rushers Situated Well Opposite Defensive Tackles

Perrion Winfrey, Browns

GettyDefensive tackle Perrion Winfrey, of the Cleveland Browns, speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 4, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

While the Browns’ interior will need to prove itself this season to justify the team staying out on free agents like five-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh, all the edge has to do is show up and be the same guys they were in 2021.

All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett recently returned to practice following a nearly week-long absence to deal with personal matters involving the health of a close relative. Garrett’s time away from the team shouldn’t prove cause for any concern with the start of the regular season still three weeks off.

Also back this year is pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, who posted nine sacks last season to complement Garrett’s 16, per Pro Football Reference. Cleveland drafted rookie end Alex Wright in the third round to bolster the position group — a move that looks even more crucial following the loss of Stephen Weatherly for the season due to a knee injury.

The Browns also traded Mack Wilson to the New England Patriots in March, receiving pass rusher Chase Winovich in return.

Browns Have Struggled With Injury Issues Throughout Preseason

Amari Cooper, Browns

GettyWide receiver Amari Cooper of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field after OTAs at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on May 25, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Winfrey’s health hiccup, if that’s all it turns out to be, is the latest bump in the road for the Browns across a preseason that has been riddled with injury.

Most of the issues have been located on the offensive side of the ball, starting with the wide receiver group. Wideouts Amari Cooper, David Bell, Anthony Schwartz and Michael Woods have all suffered at least one health issue this preseason resulting in missed time. Cleveland also waived Isaiah Weston after an ACL injury knocked him out indefinitely.

The center position has also been one of concern, after starter Nick Harris and rookie Dawson Deaton were each lost for the year within a three-day span. Backup Ethan Pocic is expected to step into a starting role, though there have been some calls for the team to revisit a deal for former center J.C. Tretter, who the Browns released in March as a cost-saving measure.

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