Deal terminate: Browns LB Anthony Walker Jr. Terminate IR contract as LB Jordan Kunaszyk designated for return….

Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. isn’t a candidate for the Injured Reserve list as he recovers from a hamstring injury, coach Kevin Stefanski said on Wednesday.

That means good news for the Cleveland defense, since the expectation is he will miss fewer than the requisite four games. Stefanski on Monday said the linebacker is “week-to-week.”

Walker exited Sunday’s 13-10 win against the Steelers early in the second quarter, after playing the first punt coverage snap. He was ruled out after the half, leaving Cleveland without its main green-sticker defensive player and one of the team captains.

First of all, just it sucks to see Walker go down, especially a leader, a captain on the team,” fellow linebacker Sione Takitaki said on Wednesday. “Just a guy that his presence is felt on and off the field, does everything right. For us guys behind him, he’s huge, definitely learned a lot from him, but yeah, been playing this game for a long time, so grateful. Obviously I never want to see guys go down, but I’m ready to play. It’s kind of how it goes, and the rest of the room feels the same way.”

Walker had recorded 34 tackles, deflected three passes, and recovered one fumble so far. According to Pro Football Focus data, he’s missed just one tackle this year.

Missing Walker isn’t an unfamiliar feeling for the Browns. They also had to live most of last season without him as he dealt with a much more devastating injury: a ruptured quadriceps tendon suffered in Week 3 of 2022 that ended his season. Returning to Cleveland this season on one-year deal, this is his first real bump in the road injury-wise. He’s played in each of Cleveland’s 10 previous games.

“He’s always with us,” Myles Garrett said after the Browns’ win over the Steelers on Sunday. “As soon as he went down he’s talking to us, he’s trying to pump us up, encourage us and still lead us. That’s never going to change. He’s just that kind of guy. Great teammate and just a compassionate person. He wants the best out of us and we’re always going to try to pick our guy up in those low moments.


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