The Browns placed linebacker Christian Kirksey (hamstring) and defensive back E.J. Gaines (concussion) on injured reserve, according to a team announcement. Both players were forced out during the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs and those injuries have ended their seasons prematurely.
Kirksey, a fifth-year veteran and team captain, started all seven of his games for the Browns this year. In that time, he racked up 29 tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. Kirksey averaged 90 tackles and three sacks between 2016 and 2017, so those numbers were off of his usual pace. According to Pro Football Focus, it has been a subpar 2018 for Kirksey, who currently ranks as one of the ten worst qualified LBs in the league. Still, losing Kirksey is a blow to the Browns D.
The Browns are hoping to get Joe Schobert back on the field soon and his return should take some of the sting out out of losing Kirksey. Schobert has been held out of the last three games with a hamstring ailment of his own.
Gaines joined the Browns on a one-year, $4MM deal in the offseason. Unfortunately, he’s done for the year after suffering his second concussion of the season. Gaines started in two of his six games and snagged his lone interception of the year against the Raiders in September.
To fill one of the vacated roster spots, the Browns have signed defensive back Juston Burris off the Jets’ practice squad.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.