CLEVELAND — While the Cleveland Browns were victorious in their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, the team suffered at least one potentially major hit. Starting middle linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. left the third quarter of the matchup after suffering an apparent left leg injury.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski revealed after the game that Walker suffered a knee sprain. On Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Walker tore his quad tendon, which will require him to undergo season-ending surgery.
Walker suffered the injury while pursuing a tackle when he was knocked to the ground by Steelers right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. As the 27-year-old linebacker laid facedown on the ground, Okorafor proceeded to jump on top of him.
Walker proceeded to lay facedown for several minutes before trainers helped place an air cast around his knee. He was eventually carted off the field.
Walker's season-ending injury is a significant one for the Browns. In addition to being one of Cleveland's most reliable linebackers, the Northwestern product is a team leader who was voted one of two defensive team captains, alongside All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, prior to the season.
"It is a huge loss with Anthony Walker if this is a longer-term thing because we know what he brings to the football side of things, but he is a captain and he is a leader," Stefanski said following the Browns' 29-17 win. "We have our fingers crossed and definitely hoping for the best for No. 5.”
Jacob Phillips took over at middle linebacker in Walker's absence and played well. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah also left the game with a groin injury.