‘It’s definitely breathtaking:’ Anthony Walker Jr.’s injury leaves Browns defense without one of its most vocal leaders

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was on the sidelines dealing with his own injury when it happened.

But the moment fellow linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. fell to the ground and had to be taken away when the court came to a standstill in Cleveland’s 29-17 win over the Steelers on Thursday night, his teammates didn’t get lost. .

“It was absolutely breathtaking,” Owusu-Kolamoah told Cleveland.com after the game. “We’ve spent so much training, a lot of hard work, a lot of sweat and tears. So it’s hard to see that, especially with people you have a personal relationship with. He understands the game of football. “It’s a tough game. You can only play the cards dealt to you.”

This hand is undoubtedly a tough one for Brown and Walker.

Walker will miss the season with a torn quad tendon, a league source told Cleveland.com on Friday.

At 10:34 of the third quarter, the game ended with Walker’s airdrop on the cart and left leg. Walker stepped down while chasing the script, and Steelers quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was linked with running back Jaylen Warren. Tackle Chukwuma Okorafor made a hard block on Walker in the sequence, and when Walker lay flat on the ground, Okorafor jumped on him. He wasn’t flagged for hitting Walker, but was considered an ineligible receiver.

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The Browns players knelt as medical staff attended to Walker on the field. Miles Garrett, Tony Fields II, Jacob Phillips, Jacoby Brissett and others huddled around Walker before he was taken off the field, doing painfully grimace.

“I walked up to him and told him, ‘We’ll do this for you,'” Fields told cleveland.com. “That’s what he did. At the end of the day, we’re here to get the job done.”

“The A-Walk has been like a big brother to me since I came to the Cleveland Browns, so it’s really made me more emotional. But our team, we all know it’s a long game in the NFL , and it’s a next-man mentality. So we’re all ready. (Linebacks coach Jason) Tarver has done a great job of getting everyone ready, so the next thing to do is do What we have to do to make Anthony proud.”

That’s the message that Walker’s replacement at Mike’s linebacker Phillips responded.

“When he was on the ground, I told him ‘God ordered our steps,'” Phillips said. “As a brother of a teammate, whatever the injury is, I’m so heartbroken, I don’t even know it.”

With Walker on the sidelines for so long, in addition to losing a starter, the Browns now have to deal with losing one of their most vocal leaders, captain and locker room glue player, at a time when the defense is more than ever This kind of talk is more needed.

In the first two games of the season, the Browns were open about their miscommunication issues, which allowed both the Panthers and Jets to take advantage of chunks — against the Jets, which were The Browns suffered a devastating 31-30 loss.

Walker offers more than pep talk, though. He’s the primary green sticker, a designated player who receives defensive calls from the touchline into his helmet headset and forwards them to other defenders.

Walker and Jacob Phillips split those responsibilities, but given the Browns’ communication issues in the first two games were player-to-player, losing a starter with that primary responsibility would certainly be painful. Phillips took on the green sticker duties when Walker left, and Kevin Stefanski said Friday that he will continue to do so. But now there needs to be more emphasis on in-game talk and repeat calls in Walker’s absence.

“Just getting calls and responding to calls, especially on the back end, I think it’s more important,” John Johnson III said after the game. “We hate to see him go down, but we’ll be fine.”

After Walker was out, Phillips came on the field to deliver the ball for the Browns.

As the Steelers attempted a comeback, faced with threes and threes, Phillips fired Trubisky in a blitz that ultimately forced Pittsburgh out of three. A few minutes later, he dismissed with a big pass for tight end Pat Freiermuth.

“When the team is relying on me, when I’m under pressure, that’s when I feel like I’m thriving the most, when I’m on the court and able to adjust in the game and have a feel for the game,” Phillips said. “Obviously I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to come out of this game healthy and be able to play to my ability.”

But even if Phillips delivers, it won’t necessarily be easy at the moment.

NFL players know the stakes, and most know how fragile the game is. But seeing a teammate suffer a devastating injury at the end of the season is still heartbreaking and requires players to make changes.

This is the mindset they have to maintain right now and move on without their best communicator.

“Falling someone like this can really start a fire under your feet,” Garrett said. “So seeing him go down in that moment really shows us how vulnerable this game is for any of us and there’s no real guaranteed rep. So you have to go out there and give it your all and know he’s going to Give it your all in any situation, if he can get up and keep playing, so we just want to play for him and keep going.”

Owusu-Koramoah to undergo MRI

Owusu-Koramoah suffered a groin injury during a non-contact game in the third quarter, he said.It’s the same series where Walker was injured and he’s not back

“Yes, I’m fine,” Owusu-Koramoah said. “I’m going to have an MRI tomorrow.”

The second-year linebacker is one of the most versatile players on the Browns defense. Through three games, Owusu-Koramoah’s defensive rating of 80.0 ranks fourth on the team, according to Pro Football Focus.

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