The Cleveland Browns released defensive end Joe Jackson on Thursday.
While the club has yet to announce a corresponding move, the transaction opens up a roster spot for linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., who has spent the past three weeks on the injured reserve list.
Jackson was released in the final roster cutdown this year, but quickly re-signed after the Browns placed linebacker Jacob Phillips on injured reserve. Jackson played in four games this season, totaling 29 snaps on defense, and was credited with two tackles and a sack.
As for Walker, the Browns designated the veteran linebacker for return from the injured list on Wednesday. He played in the Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, finishing with a team-high 10 tackles while being on the field for 62 snaps on defense.
A hamstring injury landed him on the injured reserve list a few days later, knocking him out of the lineup for a minimum of three games.
In his absence, Cleveland’s defense gave Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields his welcome to the NFL moment with nine sacks, and dominated the Minnesota Vikings as the Browns have run off a three-game winning streak.
Walker met with the media on Thursday and took a good-natured approach to the defense’s recent run of success, according to a team-provided transcript:
“I love it for the guys. For yourself, you always want to be a part of it. You want to be a part of the team and part of the team’s success, but at the end of the day, things work out that way, and you just have to support your teammates. I will always be that guy who will be the first one to help, cheer and everything. At the end of the day, it will come back.”
Head coach Kevin Stefanski said the coaches will wait and see how Walker practices this week before deciding if they will activate him to the roster in time for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
But with today’s release of Jackson opening up a roster spot, and Walker eager to get in on the fun the defense is currently enjoying, it appears likely that he will be back on the field this weekend.