Browns give kicker the boot after one game
Published 11:56 pm Monday, September 14, 2020
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns kicked aside their kicker after one game.
Cleveland waived Austin Seibert on Monday after he missed an extra point and field goal in the first half of Sunday’s season-opening loss at Baltimore. He’s being replaced by Cody Parkey, who kicked for the Browns in 2016 and is best known for missing a late field goal for the Chicago Bears in the 2018 playoffs.
Parkey will handle kicking duties when the Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
Also, the Browns placed tight end David Njoku on injured reserve with a knee injury.
A first-round pick in 2017, Njoku scored the Browns’ only touchdown in Sunday’s loss. Njoku will miss at least three games, per the NFL’s new rules this season.
Seibert’s fate was sealed when he clanged his extra point off the left upright and then pushed a 41-yard field-goal try to the right late in the first half as the Browns were routed 38-6 by the Ravens.
Even if Seibert had made those kicks, they probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game, but first-year coach Kevin Stefanski felt he had seen enough.
“I expect him to make those kicks,” Stefanski said after Sunday’s game. “I hold him to the same standard that we hold every other player on this team. He has to make those kicks.”
Earlier on Monday, Stefanski hinted at the switch when he said the team wanted “to gather more information and then we will let it go from there.”
A fifth-round pick in 2019 from Oklahoma, Seibert made 25 of 29 field-goal attempts and 30 of 35 extra points as a rookie last season.
By all accounts, he had a decent training camp this summer and the Browns seemed ready to stick with him.
Parkey was recently signed to the team’s practice squad as a precaution due to COVID-19 concerns. In an NFC wild-card game after the 2018 season, Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal — the ball hit the upright and crossbar — in the final seconds as the Bears lost 16-15 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Parkey, who has also kicked for Philadelphia, Miami and Tennessee, went 7 of 12 on field goals for the Browns in 2016.
The loss of Njoku will deprive Baker Mayfield of another target and give Stefanski another worry.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Njoku had seemingly settled into his role after demanding the Browns trade him earlier this summer. He had three catches for 50 yards and caught a 1-yard TD pass in the first quarter before getting hurt.
Njoku played in just four games last season after breaking his wrist in Week 2. The former Miami standout had four TD catches in 2017 and 2018.