The Cleveland Browns gained some reinforcements on defense as the team activated linebacker Sione Takitaki and defensive end Joe Jackson from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.
The moves leave defensive end Porter Gustin as the only Browns player currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Jackson had been on the list since November 24. He has played in three games for the Browns this season, but none since Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Browns signed Jackson in September after he was released by the Cowboys during final roster cut downs. In his three games this season, Jackson has five tackles and recovered one fumble.
Takitaki was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on November 25. That came just three days after Takitaki played 21 snaps on defense against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was Cleveland’s highest-graded defender for the game, according to Pro Football Focus, after finishing with two tackles and a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown.
While no one knows how much he will be able to contribute on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, Takitaki’s return should help a Browns defense that is bracing for Tennessee running back Derrick Henry, who is currently leading the NFL with 1,257 rushing yards.
Cleveland’s run defense has struggled in recent weeks and have given up 100-yard rushing days to James Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders and James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Henry presents an even bigger challenge.
On the season, Takitaki has 36 tackles to go with his interception return for a touchdown. He has played in 10 games, making eight starts, and is the 17th-ranked linebacker out of 87 eligible players by Pro Football Focus.