Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips suffers torn biceps, putting his 2021 season in jeopardy

Nate Ulrich
Akron Beacon Journal
Browns linebacker Jacob Phillips (50) suffered a torn biceps tendon on Thursday and will miss at least a significant part of the season. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Jacob Phillips' second season with the Browns could be over before it started.

Phillips suffered a torn biceps tendon in Thursday's joint practice with the New York Giants, two people familiar with the injury confirmed Friday morning for the Beacon Journal.

Phillips, 22, will undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve.

The injury puts Phillips' entire 2021 season in jeopardy, though the Browns believe there is a chance he could return late in the year.

“I saw [the injury] happen on the tape," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said late Friday afternoon. "He just reached out and was trying to defend a guy running a route. Very unfortunate. I feel for Jacob, but he will bounce back. He will attack that rehab.”

A 2020 third-round draft pick from Louisiana State University, Phillips had been working mostly with the second-team defense in training camp while Anthony Walker Jr., Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki formed the frontline of the linebacking corps.

After Thursday's practice, the Browns announced Phillips had an elbow injury. Takitaki also left the practice with what the team called a hamstring injury.

The injury to Phillips should only give further rise to rookie second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who stole the show in Saturday night's 23-13 preseason-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Owusu-Koramoah plays weakside linebacker. Wilson does, too, but he has position flexibility.

Short-handed at linebacker, the Browns re-signed Willie Harvey Jr. and Montrel Meander, the team announced. Harvey appeared in two games with the Browns in 2019. Meander played four games for the Browns last season and was cut Monday.

In corresponding moves, the Browns released undrafted rookie running back Corey Taylor II and wide receiver JoJo Ward.

Last season, Phillips appeared in 11 games, including two in the playoffs. He logged two starts and had 25 tackles, including one for loss, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed in the regular season. He had five tackles in the postseason.

Phillips missed seven games as a rookie. He was inactive for six games because of knee issues, and he spent a seventh game on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

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