CLEVELAND — Following an offseason clouded by uncertainty, David Njoku's 2020 campaign got off to a strong start. The Cleveland Browns tight end, however, will have to wait to build on his promising season opener, after suffering knee injury against the Baltimore Ravens that has landed him on injured reserve.
But while landing on I.R. used to mean a player would be missing a significant portion of -- if not the entire remainder of -- the season, that's no longer the case. New to this season, players can now be reactivated from injured reserve after missing a minimum of three games.
That means that at a minimum, Njoku will miss this Thursday's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, a Sept. 27 contest vs. the Washington Football team and the Browns' Oct. 4 road game against the Dallas Cowboys. He'll be eligible to return to action on Oct. 11 when Cleveland hosts the Indianapolis Colts at FirstEnergy Stadium.
But while his absence might not be long, if Sunday's season opener was any indication, the 2017 first-round pick will certainly be missed. In what was ultimately a 38-6 loss to the Ravens, Njoku was one of the Browns offense's few bright spots, catching 3 balls for 50 yards, including the team's first -- and only -- touchdown of the day.
Njoku's big opener came after an offseason in which the Miami (Fla.) product demanded a trade from the Browns, a request that he later rescinded. On the team's first depth chart of the season, the 24-year-old was listed at third-string behind Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant, although Sunday's opener showed that he's still very much an involved member of the Cleveland offense.