As it turns out, even amid a pandemic, football is still football, and it still hurts. Perhaps no team in football has been made more acutely aware of this so far in training camp than the Cleveland Browns, who have been subjected to all kind of friendly fire since they put the pads on and started hitting.
I believe it was on the first day of padded practices that second-year linebacker Mack Wilson put a hit on Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb that gave him a concussion and caused him to miss time. Although Chubb has since returned to practice, Wilson would later go on to suffer a knee injury that may cause him to miss the entire season, or at least a good deal of it.
Wilson suffered a hyperextended knee last week, and though progress has been good so far and the team believes he may be able to avoid season-ending surgery, it is apparent that he will need some time to recover.
Since then, cornerback Kevin Johnson, in his first season with the team, suffered a lacerated liver that sent him to the hospital. He remains out of practice, but there is belief that he could be able to return to the field within the early stages of the regular season.
Even more recently, the Browns suffered further injuries in the secondary. Second-year cornerback Greedy Williams left practice yesterday with a shoulder injury, and he would not return for the remainder of the day. The exact nature and extent of the injury is still unknown.
A more serious injury occurred for rookie safety Grant Delpit, whom the team feared may have suffered a torn Achilles. Subsequent test results revealed that their fears were justified, and that the young man will be out for the year and will need surgery.
Despite being a rookie, Delpit was running as a second-team starting safety behind 2020 free agent signing Andrew Sendejo, and was also receiving work in the first-team defense as a sub-package player. There was a realistic chance that he was even going to start. Needless to say, Williams and Johnson are also important members of the secondary. Karl Joseph, a veteran safety also signed in free agency, sat out practice with a foot injury.
At the very least, third-year former Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward has appeared not only to have had a healthy but productive training camp. He is one of the young leading members of Cleveland’s defense, but one wonders how many faces he’s currently familiar with out there on the field with all of these injuries.