Anthony Walker Jr., starting linebacker and team captain for the Cleveland Browns, will miss the rest of the season after torn a quadriceps tendon in Thursday night’s win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Walker’s loss is a huge blow to the Browns on and off the field. One of their most popular and energetic leaders, he is the signal caller of the defense.
“He’s a huge, huge, huge part of our football team with what he brings to us,” said coach Kevin Stefanski, before knowing the results of an MRI on Friday.
Walker was injured while defending a screen pass. His legs buckled awkwardly beneath him as he was blocked by Steelers lineman Chukwuma Okorafor, who then jumped on Walker as he lay face down.
With some of his teammates kneeling nearby, Walker’s leg was immobilized and he was carried off the field. He left FirstEnergy Stadium on crutches.
Walker signed for a second season with Cleveland in March as a free agent.
Jacob Phillips replaced Walker against the Steelers and is likely to switch to the starting role and play caller. Phillips recorded a sack and broken up a pass in the fourth quarter, which helped the Browns (2-1) earn a 29-17 win.
“I was proud of Jacob because you wish you could field 12 guys on defense,” Stefanski said. “We listed him early on as a starter with Anthony because I really believe these guys are both capable of starting.
“Now that Anthony is probably out, Jacob is going in there and we have a lot of faith in him. He’s playing like last night, I think he can really influence the game.
Stefanski did not have additional information on injuries to linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. and defensive tackle Taven Bryan.
Wills was the only one of the three to return after going out.