CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns starting linebacker and team captain Anthony Walker Jr. will miss the rest of the season after tearing a quadriceps tendon in Thursday night’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Walker’s loss is a major blow on and off the field for the Browns. He’s one of their most popular and energetic leaders and the defense’s signal caller.
“He’s a huge, huge, huge part of our football team with what he brings to us,’ coach Kevin Stefanski said before he knew the results of an MRI taken Friday.
Walker was injured while defending a screen pass. His legs buckled awkwardly under him as he was being blocked by Steelers lineman Chukwuma Okorafor, who then jumped on Walker as he laid face down.
With some of his teammates kneeling nearby, Walker’s leg was immobilized and he was carted off the field. He left FirstEnergy Stadium on crutches.
Walker re-signed as a free agent for a second season with Cleveland in March.
Jacob Phillips replaced Walker against the Steelers and will likely move into the starting role and as the play caller. Phillips recorded a sack and broke up a pass in the fourth quarter, helping the Browns (2-1) hang on for a 29-17 win.
‘I was proud of Jacob because you wish you could put 12 guys out there for the defense,’ Stefanski said. “We listed him as a starter with Anthony early because those guys I really think they are both capable of starting.
“Now with Anthony out likely, Jacob goes in there, and we have a ton of confidence in him. He plays like he plays last night, I think he can really affect the game.’
Stefanski did not have additional information on injuries to linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., and defensive tackle Taven Bryan.
Wills was the only one of the three to return after going out.
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