Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. will miss the rest of the season with a torn quad tendon, an injury he sustained in the Browns’ 29-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night.
The injury requires surgery, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Walker will take five-to-seven months to recover.
The injury occurred in the third quarter of Thursday night’s game. Walker lay facedown on the ground for a few minutes and had to be carted off the field after his leg was placed in an aircast.
“He is a huge, huge, huge part of our football team, what he brings to us on the field and off the field,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday.
What has people talking, though, is the hit that led to the injury. Steelers tackle Chukwuma Okorafor laid a hard block on Walker, who immediately went to the ground.
“Contact there, and then after he hits him, jumps on top of him,” Kirk Herbstreit said on the Amazon Prime Video broadcast during the replay. “I think that’s where the flag came in… Pretty violent hit before he jumped on top of him.”
The flag on the play was on Okorafor, but it was not for the block. He was ruled an ineligible man downfield which negated a 35-yard play.
The 27-year-old Walker had six tackles in the game before exiting. He finished last season with a team-leading 113 tackles and one sack.
The injury thins the Browns even more at the linebacker position after their other starting linebacker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, also left the game Thursday night due to a leg injury. The injuries thrust Jacob Phillips into the starting inside linebacker role for Cleveland. Phillips led the Browns with seven tackles the victory over Pittsburgh.
With the win, the Browns moved to 2-1, atop the AFC North standings. The loss dropped the Steelers to 1-2.