The Browns could be without All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin for the rest of the season after he suffered a significant left knee injury in the second quarter of Cleveland’s season-opening 24-3 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Conklin will have an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Conklin was carted off the field after going down with the injury, and was quickly ruled out. With it being reported as significant, Conklin will definitely miss the Browns’ Week 2 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football at Acrisure Stadium.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters after the game that it didn’t look promising for Conklin.
“Obviously you hope, but that doesn’t look good,” Stefanski said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I feel absolutely awful for Jack. The person he is, the player that he is and what he means to this team. You just absolutely hate to see those things. Guys that are such a big part of what we are. So he’s hurting, I’m hurting, his teammates are hurting for him. But we’ll hold out hope there.”
Conklin reportedly was hit in the left leg by a defender, and fell to the ground awkwardly. He remained on the turf for several minutes before being carted off the field. Rookie Dawand Jones out of Ohio State replaced him at right tackle.
With Conklin sidelined, Jones is expected to start at right tackle on Monday night against Pittsburgh. Jones would make his first career start against All-Pro T.J. Watt, who had a banner day against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Despite the blow out loss to San Francisco, Watt recorded five total tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one tackle for loss and one pass defended against the 49ers. On paper, it will definitely be a favorable matchup for Watt against the rookie on Monday night.
Jones, who stands at 6-foot-8, 375 pounds, was expected to go high in this past year’s draft but he dropped to the fourth round. According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Jones’ pre-draft process went “sideways,” with “constant weight questions, handling of the Senior Bowl and Pro Day” and “telling teams his dream was to play in the NBA, not the NFL.”
The Steelers expressed interest in Jones during the pre-draft process, but they were reportedly unhappy that he did not workout at his Ohio State pro day.
“I was at the Ohio State Pro Day with Mike Tomlin and those guys, and they were very pissed off because Dawand Jones did nothing at his Pro Day,” Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline said.