CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns promoted linebacker Elijah Lee to the active 53-man roster from the practice squad Saturday, bringing another body to a position that's been thinned by injuries early in the season.
Lee returns to the active roster after being elevated from practice squad ahead of the game against the Chiefs. He was elevated as part of a rule allowing a team to carry up to 55 players on the roster during a given week before the transaction deadline ahead of a game, giving the team a larger pool to choose from when selecting their 47 or 48 gameday active players.
Following the game, the players, like Lee, who were elevated to the active roster for that purpose, revert back to the practice squad the day after the game.
While his last elevation to the active roster was temporary, Lee will likely remain on the active roster for some time as linebacker Anthony Walker was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday.
Walker practiced Thursday but appeared on the participation report as limited after the session ended. He was listed as having a hamstring injury. He was placed on the IR Friday after practice, a session that he was sidelined for and spent observing and communicating with teammates.
If healthy, Walker will be able to return from IR after three weeks with the rules that were modified last season. Until then, Lee may have a larger role on the Browns as they deal with the loss of linebackers Jacob Phillips and Montreal Meander.
On Friday, head coach Kevin Stefanski said they would be rotating in some linebackers in the coming weeks and noted Lee as a starting option with Walker out.
"I think we'll work through it. Malcolm Smith's a candidate. Elijah Lee's a candidate," Stefanski said.
Lee had a promising training camp with the Browns and although he didn't make the team's initial 53-man roster, he was signed back to the practice squad the next day after clearing waivers.
In his fifth season in the NFL, Lee has appeared in 51 games, recording 53 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a sack in addition to his 14 special teams stops. Last season, Lee appeared in eight games with the Browns.
Over the next few weeks Lee will look to solidify this spot on the active roster and continue the next man up mentality the team found themselves embracing last season.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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