Browns D-ends banged up: Takk McKinley has torn Achilles, team awaiting test results on Myles Garrett's groin injury

Nate Ulrich
Akron Beacon Journal
Cleveland Browns defensive end Takkarist McKinley grimaces after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND — The Browns might be in serious danger at defensive end.

Takk McKinley had to be carted off the field Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium after suffering an injury in the third quarter of Cleveland's 16-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

An MRI on Tuesday morning confirmed McKinley is done for the season.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said McKinley suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will undergo surgery. Later, the team announced McKinley had been placed on injured reserve.

McKinley grabbed his left ankle and couldn't put weight on the leg after being hurt with 4:13 left in the third quarter.

"Losing Takk is very unfortunate," Stefanski said on Zoom. "He's been giving us some really good reps and production."

McKinley is the team's No. 3 defensive end, but the Browns (7-7) might be in even more trouble at the position heading into Saturday's game on the road against the Green Bay Packers (11-3).

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Cleveland Browns defensive end Takkarist McKinley (55) is carted off of the field after sustaining an injury during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin)

All-Pro Myles Garrett suffered a groin injury early in the fourth quarter against the Raiders, but he finished the game, logging 60 of the defense's 69 snaps (87%). Stefanski said the Browns are awaiting test results on the injury.

The Browns estimated practice participation Tuesday on their injury report, and they listed Garrett as a nonparticipant.

Fellow starting defensive end Jadeveon Clowney missed Monday's game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

"There's some uncertainty with Jadeveon, with Myles," Stefanski said. "We'll see how that goes throughout the week. We obviously are always looking to apply pressure to the quarterback, and those guys have done a nice job. We'll see who's available to us and come up with a plan based on people that are available."

The Browns have 22 players and three coaches, including Stefanski, out with COVID-19. Stefanski said the soonest any of them could test out of COVID-19 protocols would be Wednesday.

In the back end of the defense, Browns starting free safety John Johnson III has a groin injury and is considered day to day, Stefanski said. Johnson played 58 snaps (84%) versus the Raiders. The Browns listed him as nonparticipant Tuesday on their estimated injury report.

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Asked if Garrett could miss time with his groin injury, Stefanski said, "I just don’t know at this point. Still have more information coming."

Garrett was adamant after the game he would play through the groin injury.

"You’re going to have to kill me to take me off that field or you’re going to have to break my leg," he said. "You’re going to have to take me completely out because I’m going to go out there until I can't."

Garrett jumped high on the final play of the game in an attempt to block the 48-yard game-winning field goal of Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson.

"He plays very, very, very hard," Stefanski said of Garrett. "He leaves it all out there."

Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) boots a winning 48-yard field goal on the final play against the Browns, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

No matter what happens with Garrett and Clowney, backup defensive ends Porter Gustin and Joe Jackson should have opportunities to play more with McKinley out and three regular-season games remaining.

The Browns promoted Gustin from the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday and cut tight end Nick Guggemos and wide receiver Alexander Hollins from the practice squad. Jackson remains on the practice squad.

Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia mentioned McKinley in his opening remarks after the game. Last season, McKinley spent time with the Raiders on injured reserve.

"We sure hope he’s OK," Bisaccia said. "He is a great player — really well respected in the league and certainly well respected by us in our locker room."

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With Clowney landing on the COVID-19 list Sunday, McKinley started opposite Garrett on Monday. While McKinley was on the ground immediately after his injury occurred, Garrett checked on him before medical personnel helped McKinley onto the cart.

"I told him to be optimistic, that we love him, that we're here for him and to just keep his head up," Garrett said. "I know he was hurting physically and mentally, and I just wanted him to know that we got his back whether it's in the game or off the field, and whatever he needs, we're here for him."

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In March, the Browns signed McKinley to a one-year contract worth a base value of $4.25 million.

A former first-round draft pick (No. 26 overall) of the Atlanta Falcons, McKinley has appeared in 11 games this season and compiled 18 tackles, 2½ sacks and a forced fumble. He played 29 snaps (42%) on Monday but didn't record any official statistics before his departure from the game.

A groin injury limited McKinley to four games last season.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Takkarist McKinley grimaces after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Nate Ulrich can be reached at