Mon. Sep 26th, 2022
The Cleveland Browns are having a rough go of it in the heart of their offensive line, losing a second player to injury in just three days.

Camryn Justice of WEWS in Cleveland reported that rookie center Dawson Deaton will miss the entirety of the regular season after he sustained a knee injury during practice. The Browns selected Deaton in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft in May.

“Source confirms Dawson Deaton tore his ACL today at practice,” Justice tweeted after initially reporting the center had been carted off the field during Monday’s training camp session.

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Browns Down 2 Centers in Just 3 Days After Misfortune Strikes Again

GettyThe Browns offensive line has been dealt two serious blows in mid-August, as centers Nick Harris and Dawson Deaton have both been lost for the 2022 regular season.

Deaton is the second offensive lineman in the Browns’ organization to go down for the year within the last three days.

Prospective starting center Nick Harris left Cleveland’s opening preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday with a knee injury, which ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported is likely to end his year as well.

“All of these injuries stink,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said following Friday’s game. “[Harris] certainly is a guy who has been working so hard this offseason. Really hoping that it is not a season-long thing because the kid just worked so hard.”

As of Monday, former Seattle Seahawks lineman Ethan Pocic occupies the starting center spot. Pocic played his first five NFL seasons in Seattle, appearing in a total of 57 games and starting 40 of those, per Pro Football Reference.

“[Pocic] went in there and did a really nice job,” Stefanski said. “We went out and got him for a reason. Excited about what he did last night.”

Hjalte Forholdt, who played zero snaps for the Browns’ offense last season and just 61 snaps for the New England Patriots‘ offense the year before, is currently listed as Cleveland’s second-string center, per ESPN.

Former Browns Center Remains Available on NFL Free Agent Market

J.C. Tretter

GettyCenter JC Tretter (left) and guard Joel Bitonio (right) of the Cleveland Browns celebrate after a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 20, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

The Browns could shuffle players along the offensive line but are solid on the edges with Pro-Bowl guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, and former Pro Bowl right tackle Jack Conklin all set to begin the season as starters. Two-year starter Jedrick Wills is also expected to return at left tackle.

Should Cleveland decide to add a player at center and leave well enough alone at the tackle and guard positions, the best available option in free agency is probably former Browns center J.C. Tretter. Tretter played in Cleveland for five years before the team cut him in March as a cost-saving measure, clearing $8 million in salary cap space as a result of the move.

Tretter started 80 of 81 regular season games during his time with the Browns, missing just one contest in 2021 as a result of a positive COVID-19 test. He allowed just one sack and committed only five penalties all of last season, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). His overall PFF rating last season was 78.7, while Tretter earned an elite mark as a pass protecter with a grade of 83.7.

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