Browns Injured Reserve List Reaches 11 And Could Add Another Soon

Browns injured reserve list reaches 11 and could add another soon

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.

Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …

The Browns are losing players by the day. It’s starting to feel like the 2020 COVID season.

Earlier this week, the club put offensive tackles Dawand Jones and Jedrick Wills on injured reserve after they underwent knee surgeries, and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.

On Wednesday, safety Grant Delpit joined the list. He needed surgery on a groin injury.

Next up likely will be defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo, who may need surgery for a torn pectoral muscle.

Four days after signing a new, three-year contract extension, safety Grant Delpit landed on injured reserve after surgery to repair a groin injury. He won't be the last one to go to IR. 


Coach Kevin Stefanski recoiled at the mention of the COVID season. He was stricken by COVID in 2020 and had to sit out the Browns’ wild-card playoff victory in Pittsburgh. Stefanski also missed a regular-season game in 2021 because of COVID.

“No. Hopefully, that was a one-of-one year,” he said of 2020. “Listen, every single season has its own challenges. We’re no different than a lot of teams. You’re dealing with injuries. It’s the NFL, it’s December. It is what it is.”

In truth, the Browns are in the top tier in number of players on injured reserve. Their list includes key players such as running back Nick Chubb, right tackle Jack Conklin, quarterback Deshaun Watson, safety Rodney McLeod, along with Wills, Jones and Delpit.

According to injury lists posted on The Football Database, there are currently 273 NFL players on injured reserve. The Browns have 11 on IR; Okoronkwo would make it 12.

Here are the teams with the longest injured reserve lists:

Houston Texans: 16.

Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Washington Commanders: 12.

Browns, Detroit Lions, N.Y. Giants, N.Y. Jets, Tennessee Titans: 11.

The rest of the AFC North looks like this:

Pittsburgh Steelers: 8.

Baltimore Ravens: 6.

Cincinnati Bengals: 5.

“We don’t get hung up on it, we don’t,” Stefanski said. “We just focus on the job that we have in front of us, and it’s finding a way to get a victory versus a Chicago Bears team that’s 3-1 in their last four.”

The Bears on Wednesday added starting pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue to their list.

The Bears have the shortest injured reserve list: 2.

Flacco Fever update

The other end of the health spectrum is quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s as fresh as a 38-year-old professional football player can be. He’s played two games after an 11-month layoff that was the result of no team being interested in him.

“I ultimately feel a little bit more fresh than most guys know,” Flacco said. “When you’ve been through a whole long season, even though your body kind of gets used to the wear and tear, you’re dealing with something. So, at this point, to be able to come in healthy, even though I haven’t dealt with getting hit and all that, you’re always healthier and more fresh in the beginning. And that’s kind of what this is for me.”

For the first time in a long time, the Browns’ work week didn’t begin with the question of who’s starting at quarterback. Stefanski put an end to that annoying storyline when he named Flacco his starter for the rest of the season, and beyond.

“I think in your mind you got to take it week to week anyway and act like you’re the guy and focus on being the guy,” Flacco said. “So really nothing else changes. We still want to go out there and have a good week’s worth of work, and that’s really what it all comes down to.”

In 15 previous NFL seasons, Flacco has seen it all. But what he hasn’t seen, he said, was a team able to keep winning through so many injuries.

“I’ve probably been part of seasons where we’ve been injured like this,” he said. “I don’t know of anywhere where we’re still standing 8-5. So, I think the fact that we’ve been able to go out there, these guys have been able to go out there and still put together a bunch of wins, has definitely helped the mindset in terms of that. Obviously, if it was the other way, you wouldn’t be feeling as good, but I think going out there and winning cures a lot.”

Flacco has taken his new team by storm since joining the Browns three weeks ago. In two games, he’s thrown for 565 yards and five touchdowns. He has two interceptions and a lost fumble in a loss against the Rams and a win over the Jaguars.

Besides his cannon arm, Flacco’s calm demeanor has impressed his new teammates.

“A guy like that with a lot of experience, every game situation, nothing should surprise him at this point,” linebacker Anthony Walker said. “He’s been playing for 100 years, so he’s getting those guys [on the sideline] ready, just in case. If it’s a two-minute or we’re up two or we’re up four … I’m pretty sure he’s telling those guys how to manage that situation. Like I said, a guy that’s been around, he’s done it all, seen it all, is able to communicate to the guys different types of situations that we could be in.”

Brownie bits

DNP’s directly related to injuries included safety Juan Thornhill (calf), defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (concussion), center Ethan Pocic (stinger), and Okoronkwo (pectoral) …

If Thornhill isn’t able to play, the available safeties for the Bears game would be D’Anthony Bell, rookie Ronnie Hickman, and 11-year veteran Duron Harmon, who joined the Browns’ practice squad on November 22 …

Cornerback Denzel Ward (shoulder), who has missed the past three games, was limited …

Stefanski inserted backup quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson for two plays against the Jaguars. One resulted in a keeper run for a first down by the rookie. Will we see more of DTR? “It’s a game-to-game proposition about what you think is best for the team in that game,” Stefanski said. “Last week was a couple of plays. Could be zero [next time]. Could be 30. For him and for any of our players. That’s how we operate. We just want to make sure that whatever it takes for that given game, we’re going to put in the game plan.” Stefanski said DTR “could” be the scout team quarterback to simulate Bears dual-threat QB Justin Fields this week.