CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. will be out for at least the next three weeks after the team placed him on the Reserve/Injured list on Friday.
Walker practiced Thursday but appeared on the participation report as limited after the session ended. He was listed as having a hamstring injury.
The middle linebacker missing any time is a blow to the defense as Walker is the team's defensive play caller, wearing the green dot when on the field.
Safety John Johnson III could wear the green dot the next few Sundays as he has experience as the signal caller for the Los Angeles Rams prior to signing with the Browns this season.
The Browns have Malcolm Smith next in line at MIKE (middle linebacker) on the unofficial depth chart, with Sione Takitaki starting at SAM (strong-side linebacker) ahead of Tony Field II, and Mack Wilson starting at WILL (weak-side linebaker) ahead of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Before Walker was injured, Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods was asked following the Chiefs game how he felt at the linebacker position, which has been riddled with injuries including Jacob Phillips and Montreal Meander.
"I'm fine at the linebacker position. With us, it's the first game out. We wanted to play better. We wish we could have came away with the win, but we know we'll get better each and every week,” Woods said.
On Friday, just before placing him on the injured list, Walker was watching the practice session on the sideline, having long talks with teammates Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney.
#Browns LB Anthony Walker, who is headed to the injured list with a hamstring injury, watched practice today and spent time talking with players like Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. pic.twitter.com/e2LebBwcek— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) September 17, 2021
Walker will be able to return from IR, if healthy, after three weeks with the rules that were modified last season. Before last season, players who were placed on IR would have been required to miss a minimum of six weeks worth of practice and eight weeks worth of games.
Teams are once again allowed to return an unlimited number of players from IR this season when before they would have been limited to two players per year.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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