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Browns Could be Missing Key Starter, Big Rookie vs. Steelers



Browns Steelers Draft Baylor NT Siaki Ika

The Cleveland Browns may be without starting free safety Juan Thornhill and promising rookie nose tackle Siaki Ika in their Week 2 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thornhill missed Cleveland’s Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals with a calf injury, and is listed as questionable again this week. He did not practice on Thursday and was limited on Friday and Saturday. Thornhill was one of Cleveland’s key free agent additions this offseason, coming over from the Kansas City Chiefs on a three-year, $21 million contract.

Last week, veteran Rodney McCleod replaced Thornhill in the starting lineup and played well, as Cleveland held the vaunted Bengals’ passing attack to a total of 82 yards.

Ika is listed as questionable with a foot injury and did not practice all this week. He was reportedly seen in a walking boot at Cleveland practice.

Two other Cleveland defensive tackles, starter Shelby Harris and backup Maurice Hurst, were limited in practice but are expected to play. Harris did not practice on Thursday and was limited on Friday with an Achilles injury, but was a full participant on Saturday. Hurst, dealing with a hamstring issue, was also out Thursday and limited Friday but practiced fully Saturday and will play.

Ika was selected by the Brownd with the 98th overall pick in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He was a player who had been linked to the Steelers in the pre-draft process as one of the few true nose tackles available.

The Steelers ended up choosing Wisconsin defensive tackle Keeanu Benton with their second of two second-round picks. Benton is expected to play a bigger role against the Browns after Cam Heyward’s significant Week 1 injury.

The Browns have one other player on their injury report for the game, as wide receiver Amari Cooper is questionable with a groin injury.

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