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Browns lose DE Olivier Vernon to torn Achilles

Cleveland is down one of their best defensive players heading into their playoff re-match with Pittsburgh.

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

While the Cleveland Browns’ playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers was a joyous one, the team did get some bad news on Monday. DE Olivier Vernon left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a left leg injury, and today, an MRI revealed that Vernon ruptured his Achilles tendon. Vernon will have surgery, ending his season.

Achilles injuries take awhile to recover from, so Vernon will likely be out of action well into the 2021 season, if he returns at all. Losing Vernon is a big loss for Cleveland’s defense, as he played at a very high level the second half of the season, including registering 9 sacks. One could argue that he became the team’s most consistent defender on the season.

Now, heading into the playoffs, Adrian Clayborn and Porter Gustin will be counted on to pick up the slack. Myles Garrett is still the team’s top defender, but his performance has tapered off a bit since coming down with COVID-19 earlier this season.