CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the story above is from Jan. 3, 2021.
When the Cleveland Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card round this weekend, they'll be without one of their key defensive players, with head coach Kevin Stefanski announcing on Monday that defensive end Olivier Vernon has suffered a ruptured Achilles and will miss the entirety of the NFL Playoffs.
Now in his second season with the Browns, Vernon suffered the injury in Cleveland's playoff-clinching 24-22 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. In 14 games this season the 30-year-old tallied nine sacks --including one on Sunday -- which marked his highest total since 2013.
Without Vernon in the lineup, Stefanski said that veteran defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn will see increased playing time starting opposite star defensive end Myles Garrett. In 15 games -- including two starts this season -- Clayborn has totaled 3.5 sacks and seven QB hits.
Having ended what was the NFL's longest active postseason drought (17 years), Sunday's Wild Card matchup against the Steelers will mark Cleveland's first playoff game since the 2002 season. The game will be played at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football and air on WKYC Channel 3 with kickoff set for 8:15 p.m. ET.