CLEVELAND — We finally have some good news out of Berea.
The Browns confirmed Wednesday that star linemen Myles Garrett, Joel Bitonio, and Jack Conklin are all expected to play in Thursday night's game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Garrett (neck) and Bitonio's (biceps) statuses were in question after both did not practice this week, while Conklin has been dealing with a knee injury that has kept him out of action since late last season.
All three players have earned at least one first-team All-Pro honor with Cleveland and are considered to be among the team's emotional leaders both on the field and in the locker room. Left guard Bitonio is the club's longest-tenured player and Conklin has helped him anchor a strong offensive line since 2020 while playing right tackle, while the edge rusher Garrett is on the verge of breaking the Browns' official all-time sacks record.
The three stalwarts will certainly be badly needed during this short week as the Browns attempt to recover from a devastating 31-30 loss to the New York Jets. The defense has taken the brunt of the blame after communication issues led to two Jet touchdowns in the final 1:55 of play, and Garrett later expressed his dismay at Cleveland fans booing their own team. To help clear the air, the unit held a players-only meeting on Tuesday.
Although the Browns will have three of their top contributors, No. 2 defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be out with a bad ankle, and No. 3 Chase Winovich has been played on injured reserve after hurting his hamstring. Rookies Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas are expected to get more reps as a result, with Isaac Rochell being activated from the practice squad to add depth.