Browns DEs Wright, Thomas could miss significant time with injuries

Published 11:36 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland’s rebuilt defensive line depth suddenly has some weak spots.

Second-year ends Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas are both sidelined with knee injuries and could miss significant time — and possibly the start of the regular season.

Before Monday’s practice, which was held outdoors despite a steady rain, coach Kevin Stefanski revealed that Wright and Thomas are hurt while providing few other details or a timetable for recovery.

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Stefanski did say the injuries could stretch into the regular season, which begins Sept. 10 against Cincinnati.

During practice, No. 2 running back Jerome Ford suffered a hamstring injury and backup guard Drew Forbes was carted off with a back injury. The extent of their injuries is not yet known. The Browns are off Tuesday and will play their home exhibition opener Friday against the Washington Commanders.

Stefanski said one of the ends was injured in Thursday night’s Hall of Fame game against the New York Jets and the other was hurt during practice Saturday.

Wright and Thomas are listed as Cleveland’s respective Nos. 4 and 5 ends behind All-Pro Myles Garrett, Za’Darius Smith and Ogbo Okoronkwo.

The Browns revamped their defensive front this offseason — Smith came via trade and Okoronkwo as a free agent — after the unit underperformed in 2022.

Wright and Thomas both missed Sunday’s workout along with defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who got poked in the eye.

Thomas, a seventh-round pick in 2022, was on the field for 25 plays against the Jets. Wright played 15 snaps.

Cleveland selected Wright, who played at UAB, in the third round in 2022. Thomas, a standout at Oklahoma, was picked in the seventh round that year.

The Browns signed end Charles Wiley to help offset the injuries. He played at Texas-San Antonio and spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants last season.

NOTES: LB Sione Takitaki took part in team drills for the first time since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last season. Takitaki intercepted rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson in the end zone.