October 18, 2021

Kevin Stefanski optimistic LB Jacob Phillips can return this season, DE Joe Jackson re-signs, other Browns ta – cleveland.com


BEREA, Ohio — Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips, who underwent surgery to repair his torn biceps tendon, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. But coach Kevin Stefanski is optimistic Phillips can make it back later this season.

“He’s rehabbing here,’’ Stefanski said after practice. “Hopefully, he attacks this rehab like I know he will and then see where we are as he gets healthy.”

The Browns waited until after the final roster trim to 53 to place Phillips on IR so he can be designated for return. Teams can place as many players as they want on IR, and bring them back after a minimum of three weeks. Players who went on IR before the final cuts are there for the season unless they reach an injury settlement and can return three weeks after the resolution of the settlement, as is the case with kicker Cody Parkey.

Before tearing the biceps in a joint practice against the Giants, Phillips was backing up Anthony Walker at middle linebacker and cross-training on the weak and strong sides. He was slated for a decent amount of playing time.

The Browns’ third-round pick in 2020 out of LSU, Phillips was expected to take a big step in his second season. Now, he follows in the footsteps of two other former recent Tigers draft picks who missed all or most of the 2020 season in Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit.

Joe Jackson re-signed

The Browns waived Jackson on Tuesday, but re-signed him Wednesday after he cleared waivers and Phillips was placed on IR. Jackson (6-4, 278), earned the praise of future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas during the broadcast of the Giants game, when he called him one of his new favorite players. Jackson, drafted by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2019 draft out of Miami, was waived last September and picked up by the Browns.

They have four defensive ends on the roster, and two on the practice squad in Porter Gustin and Curtis Weaver.

Rashard Higgins has a good excuse

Higgins was excused from practice for the second straight day on Wednesday, but he had a great excuse. His fiancée is about to give birth to their first child, a boy. Higgins will have a little extra time to spend with the baby, because NFL players have a mandatory three-day break on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Malik Jackson is back

On the other hand, Jackson — also excused on Tuesday — was back Wednesday as part of what projects as a formidable defensive line. If Malik McDowell keeps improving, he’ll see significant action in Kansas City, or possibly even start next to Jackson ahead of Andrew Billings. McDowell (6-6, 295) brings so much power that he could be a load for the Chiefs’ overhauled offensive line. The line’s combination of speed, size and power will be tough for even an experienced O-line to handle.

JC Tretter expected back

Stefanski said he expects the veteran center to be back in time for the Chiefs despite missing the past several weeks with an undisclosed ailment. Second-year pro Nick Harris has been working in his place. Tretter hasn’t missed an offensive snap since signing with the Browns in 2017.


The following players sat out Wednesday’s practice: Grant Delpit (hamstring), Greedy Williams (groin), Tretter, Michael Dunn (back), Sione Takitaki (hamstring), and Troy Hill (undisclosed).

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