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Browns to be without a key defender against the Steelers

The Browns defensive end suffered an Achilles injury in Week 17, putting him out for the AFC Playoffs.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns will be without starting defensive end Olivier Vernon for the remainder of the 2020 NFL post season, and possibly beyond. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Vernon will need season-ending surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in the Browns’ 24-22 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.

Drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, Vernon just finished his ninth NFL season. After four years in Miami, Vernon spent the next three seasons with the New York Giants. In 2018, he was selected to the Pro Bowl, a season where he had 7.0 sacks, a fumble recovery, and 21 quarterback hits in 11 games.

Vernon had 9.0 sacks for the Browns in 2020, including the only sack the Browns had on Mason Rudolph in Week 17 against the Steelers. Playing opposite Myles Garrett, Vernon had 36 tackles in the 2020 season, 12 of which were for loss, as well as having 16 quarterback hits, a fumble recovery, three pass defenses, and a safety.

With the loss of Vernon, Porter Dustin and Joe Jackson are listed as the players on the depth chart at right defensive end according to the official Cleveland Browns website.

The Steelers and Browns will face off for the second straight week, this time in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs. It will be the Browns’ first rip to the postseason since 2002, when they just so happen to lose to the Steelers and Tommy Maddox in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

There will be a lot of news on both teams as it pertains to players dealing with injuries, coming back from injury and especially those who could be reinstated off the COVID-19/Reserve List. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the first postseason game since 2017.