Cleveland Browns defensive end Takkarist McKinley saw his 2021 season come to an end on Monday with a torn Achilles tendon.
McKinley was injured in the third quarter of Monday’s 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and will soon be placed on season-ending injured reserve. It is the second consecutive year that the Browns have lost a defensive end to an Achilles injury, as Olivier Vernon suffered the same injury in the team’s playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in January.
The Browns signed McKinley as a free agent in the offseason. He finishes the year with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 11 games.
Losing McKinley is disappointing on its own, but it might be even worse given that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and defensive end Myles Garrett is dealing with a groin injury he suffered during Monday’s game.
While Garrett played through his injury and stated after the game that he is not going to allow it to sideline him, head coach Kevin Stefanski took a more measured approach to the situation at defensive end (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“Obviously, losing Takk is very unfortunate. He has been giving us some really good reps and production. Like you said, there is some uncertainty with (DE) Jadeveon (Clowney) and with Myles. We will see how that goes throughout the week, but we obviously are always looking to apply pressure to the quarterback, and those guys have done a nice job. We will see who is available to us and come up with a plan based on the people who are available.”
As for the players still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, none came off on Tuesday and it will be another interesting week as the Browns wait to see who will or will not be available for Saturday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
But there is a bright side as players can be cleared after 10 days on the list, which in the case of Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield would be Saturday. That would make them both eligible to be active for the game, although they will be required to travel separately from the team.
The 10-day window would also apply to wide receiver Jarvis Landry, tight end Austin Hooper and left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., among others.
For now, Stefanski said the coaches will work with what they have (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“I think it is a little bit different in that you really circle Day 10 for all of us, and Day 10 occurs for different people on different days. Obviously, the hope is that guys test out sooner than that so that you can get them in the building and get them back going physically, mentally, get them back out at practice and those type of things. Short of not knowing, we just have to plan on the people who we have and we know about, and then we will adjust based on what occurs over the next couple of days.”
Players still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list include:
- Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum
- Running back Kareem Hunt
- Offensive linemen Jedrick Wills Jr. James Hudson III and Drew Forbes
- Wide receivers Jarvis Landry and JoJo Natson
- Tight ends Austin Hooper and Ross Travis
- Defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney, Ifeadi Odenigbo and Malik McDowell
- Linebackers Jacob Phillips, Mack Wilson Sr. and Tony Fields II
- Cornerbacks Troy Hill and A.J. Green
- Safeties Ronnie Harrison Jr., Grant Delpit and Nate Meadors
- Punter Jamie Gillan
The Browns face the Packers on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Lambeau Field, where the Browns are 3-6 all-time.