By Tony Grossi
Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor could be lost for the season after suffering a pectoral muscle injury during the team’s offseason conditioning workout on Thursday.
The Browns confirmed the injury, first reported by Fox 8’s John Telich, but would not speculate on whether the injury is a complete tear. A torn pectoral would sideline Taylor for the season.
“(Taylor) injured his left pectoral today lifting weights as part of the club’s offseason program. He will be further evaluated on Monday to determine a course of treatment,” said the club’s statement.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson missed the final 10 games of 2009 when he suffered a torn pectoral muscle. The next training camp, Jackson tore the pec on the other side of his chest and missed the entire season.
Taylor, the Browns’ No. 1 draft pick in 2011, was hoping to elevate his game from what was universally considered a good rookie season. He started all 16 games and finished seventh on defense with 59 tackles. He added four sacks and one forced fumble. Taylor was voted to severall all-rookie teams.
Taylor played the so-called “three-technique” tackle spot next to “one-technique” tackle Ahtyba Rubin. Theoreticaly, Taylor would be freed up to shoot his gap between center and guard and apply more pressure on the quarterback. Rubin had five sacks in his role, however, facing more double teams.
The injury could thrust sixth-round draft pick Billy Winn into competition for the starting spot with returning backup Scott Paxson. Third-round pick John Hughes, also a tackle, most likely was earmarked to be Rubin’s backup, though he could join the competition, too.
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