Browns Get Devastating Injury News on Key Defender

The Browns' defense played a huge role in their Week 11 win over the Steelers, but the secondary will be much weaker this week due to a key injury.

Veteran safety Rodney McLeod is expected to be out for the remainder of the 2023 NFL season.
Veteran safety Rodney McLeod is expected to be out for the remainder of the 2023 NFL season. / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn't pretty, but Cleveland Browns fans won't complain about the result. After all, the victory improved the Browns' record to 7-3, keeping them just one win back of the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North lead.

Unfortunately, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows this weekend. Cleveland's win wasn't without casualties as veteran safety Rodney McLeod exited the game in the second half with a biceps injury and didn't return.

For Browns fans hoping for a speedy recovery, I suggest you look away from what's below.

Rodney McLeod Injury Update

On Monday afternoon, head coach Kevin Stefanski revealed that McLeod must undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, per NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano.

Losing a key defender for the season always hurts, especially when defense has been the highlight of Cleveland's 2023 campaign. It stings even more knowing that fellow safety Juan Thornhill has been dealing with a calf injury that held him out of Week 11.

McLeod joined the Browns on a one-year deal back in May, looking to boost the team's secondary depth. He's suited up in all 10 games (5 starts) thus far, recording 29 tackles (16 solo) with a broken-up pass and a 57.8 passer rating on 11 targets.

What's also disappointing is that the former Super Bowl winner's injury came just as he was earning more playing time. After playing just 20% of defensive snaps in Week 6, McLeod's snap share increased to 33%, 40%, 57% and 79% in the last 4 games.

Chances are that Thornhill will take McLeod's spot in the lineup once he returns from injury. Until then, we might see someone like D'Anthony Bell get a boost in playing time. Or perhaps Thomas Graham Jr. — who played 7 games for Cleveland in 2022 — could get promoted from the practice squad.

In the meantime, here's hoping that McLeod experiences a full recovery and can get back to the gridiron in 2024.

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