Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Updated at 4:06 p.m.
The Browns were meeting Friday afternoon to consider their options after learning that quarterback Brian Hoyer would be lost for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Hoyer will need surgery on the knee, coach Rob Chudzinski said. No other structural damage was revealed on the MRI done on Hoyer on Friday morning.
The Browns’ initial reaction was to not add a quarterback to join Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell on the roster. But that may have changed after learning the full extent of Hoyer’s injury.
“We’ll sit down with Joe (Banner) and talk through what our plans will be from there,” Chudzinski said on a conference call at noon.
USA Today reported the Browns would meet with Tyler Thigpen, formerly of the Dolphins, Chiefs and Bills. Thigpen, 29, was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings in 2007. He has 12 career NFL starts and last played with the Bills in 2012.
According to a source, the Browns have eliminated former Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman as an option. Freeman was released by the Buccaneers on Wednesday after a tumultuous year with coach Greg Schiano.
The Browns beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-24, to move to 3-2 and temporarily gain sole possession of first place in the AFC North despite Hoyer’s injury. Although it’s early in the season, the Browns have positioned themselves to be a factor in the playoff chase. The front office has to decide whether a QB tandem of Weeden and Campbell is good enough to keep them in it.
Hoyer was the spark that turned the season around after an 0-2 start under Weeden.
“He did a great job stepping in and really showing what he could do with his opportunity,” Chudzinski said. “It was a huge for us. This is disappointing. He was a big reason that we won those couple games, but not the only reason.”
Chudzinski said that he didn’t have a problem with Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso who collided with Hoyer during the quarterback’s fateful run for a first down early in the game. Hoyer, who also played baseball at St. Ignatius HS, was in the process of sliding, but his right cleat caught in the FirstEnergy Stadium grass. When Alonso fell on top of Hoyer, Hoyer’s right knee hyperextended.
Weeden, who had thrown to receivers only one day during the short week, stepped in and made enough plays to help the cause. The Browns’ turnaround from an early 10-0 deficit was spurred by Travis Benjamin punt returns of 57 and 79 yards that produced 10 points.
But Weeden put together one long touchdown drive in the second quarter and then slapped another TD on the board in the third quarter on a 37-yard pass to Josh Gordon.
“Brandon stepped in and took over and the guys rallied around him,” Chudzinski said. “It was a gutsy performance. It wasn’t always pretty. I think he was still a little bit rusty, but he got the job done and he helped us win that game and that was a big game for us.”
Chudzinski said he hasn’t thought about how Hoyer’s injury affects the team’s possible draft plans in 2014, but Hoyer remains a big part of the team’s plans. Hoyer signed a two-year contract in May.
“Obviously, he’s disappointed, but if you know him to know how positive he is, he’s already thinking about when he’s going to be back,” Chudzinski said. “I wanted to let him know how much he meant to us and what he did and that he’ll be back and make it back. He’s that type of guy.”
Injury report: Chudzinski said that defensive end Desmond Bryant was released from Cleveland Clinic without any problems. Bryant experienced shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat during the game. Chudzinski said Bryant “is fine” and would play in the next game against Detroit … Running back Chris Ogbonnay suffered a concussion and will have to follow NFL protocol before being cleared to return to practice, Chudzinski said.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.comFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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