Browns All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin suffers season-ending knee injury

Nate Ulrich
Akron Beacon Journal
Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin leaves the field on a cart during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

BALTIMORE — Jack Conklin's injury-riddled 2021 season is done.

The Browns All-Pro right tackle suffered a season-ending ruptured patellar tendon and will undergo knee surgery, coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday on Zoom.

Conklin will land on injured reserve and miss the final five games of the season, a major setback for the Browns (6-6) as they attempt to make a miraculous run to the playoffs.

“Jack's a big part of what we do and he's a good man, good teammate, so feel for Jack,” Stefanski said.

Conklin had to be carted from the sideline to the locker room after suffering the right knee injury in the first quarter of Sunday night's 16-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Testing Monday confirmed the severity of Conklin's injury, which Stefanski characterized as "serious" immediately after the game.

Cleveland Browns tight end Harrison Bryant (88) runs the ball against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Stephens (21) during the second quarteran NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

Shortly after Conklin's departure, the Browns ruled him out for the rest of the game.

The injury occurred with 6:27 left in the first quarter, when Conklin collapsed as rookie edge rusher Odafe Oweh bull rushed him.

As Conklin walked slowly to the sideline with medical personnel, his right knee appeared to buckle, and he nearly fell. Conklin was examined in the medical tent on the sideline before being carted off.

"It hurts to see Jack like that," Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said Sunday night. "I see the guy work every day. [To] see him have to deal with all these injuries, knowing what he's going through, it's tough to see, it's tough to watch and I feel for him."

Cleveland Browns takeaways:Myles Garrett defends himself for dapping Lamar Jackson, Kevin Stefanski won't consider QB change

Conklin had missed the previous three games with a dislocated left elbow. He sat out two games earlier this season with a knee injury. His season ended with him playing only seven games this year and just 10 of the offense's 60 snaps (17%) on Sunday. 

"You hate that for anybody, especially Jack, who's been fighting to come back after the dislocated elbow," Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Sunday night. "It's just one of those freak deals. I hate it for him. He's one of our guys, and it's just a really, really unfortunate thing."

Blake Hance filled in at right tackle after Conklin left the game, logging 50 snaps (83%). Hance has started four games at right tackle in Conklin's absence this season, even though offensive line coach Bill Callahan recently said Hance should be playing guard and is merely "surviving" at tackle.

“He's going to compete and he's going to fight and he's going to do everything he can to give us the best opportunity out there," Browns three-time Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio said Monday on Zoom. "He has experience now. We know we have [rookie] James [Hudson III] and Michael Dunn, guys who could potentially play that position as well, but Blake has the most experience. He's going to fight, and he's going to try to find a way to be the best he can be out there. That's really all we can ask of him.”

After Conklin spent his first four NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, he joined the Browns in March 2020 by signing a three-year, $42 million contract, which includes $30 million guaranteed. Conklin is under contract through the 2022 season.

Stefanski said he couldn't say right now whether Conklin, 27, is expected to be back in time for training camp in the summer.

Conklin has endured a major knee injury before. He suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 13, 2018, in a playoff game with the Titans, who drafted him eighth overall in 2018 out of Michigan State University.

“It is tough," Bitonio said. "I know he battled back from his elbow [this season] to try to get out there for the team, and he competed for the team. He's a selfless guy.

“I know he has the right makeup to come back from this, but it's one of those things where you never want to see a guy seriously hurt. We know we play a dangerous game, but that was a tough one. He's in our thoughts right now. We're hoping surgery goes well and he can come back from that.”

Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin, center, stumbles as he walks off the field with medical staff after a play against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Nate Ulrich can be reached at

Ravens at Browns

Time: 1 p.m. Dec. 12