The Cleveland Browns saw another key player go down with an injury this past weekend, as kicker Dustin Hopkins was hurt while attempting to make a tackle on a kickoff return. The veteran wasn't able to return to the contest, and he required an MRI after the game, highlighting how potentially serious this ailment could be.
Unfortunately, head coach Kevin Stefanski didn't have anything optimistic to say about Hopkins' injury when addressing the media on Tuesday.
Stefanski was asked by reporters if Hopkins would be able to return for the playoffs from his current hamstring issue. In a somewhat bleak response, Stefanski said, "I can't say. I don't know."
Suffice it to say, this isn't encouraging news. Stefanski has already ruled Hopkins out for the team's upcoming Thursday Night Football game against the New York Jets, so an immediate return isn't the cards.
It appears Hopkins' absence very well could bleed into the playoffs, however. That would leave Cleveland in need of a starting kicker at the last minute, tasking a cold free agent to replace arguably the team's MVP of the 2023 season in Hopkins.
The Browns were proactive right after Sunday's contest, inking former Detroit Lions starter Riley Patterson to the practice squad. He didn't kick well enough to stick around in Detroit's indoor dome, however, and he'll now be challenged to kick in a grueling climate during the most important time of the year.
Hopefully Cleveland treats TNF as a tryout for Patterson, who can prove he belongs to have a job with a solid performance. Otherwise, Kevin Stefanski and company shouldn't hesitate to pursue more experienced free-agent options that are still available at this point in the season.
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