Cleveland Browns safety Duron Harmon says the team cannot dwell on injuries to key players Nick Chubb and Deshaun Watson, saying they must find a way to "win at all costs".

The Browns have lost several key players this season, starting with star running back Chubb as he suffered a gruesome knee injury in Week 2, which has required two separate surgeries. 

That injury put even greater responsibility on quarterback Watson, but he was forced to undergo season-ending surgery after sustaining a fracture in his throwing shoulder last month.

Despite their absences, the Browns approach their Week 14 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 7-5 record and are one of three teams from the AFC North currently in a playoff position.

Speaking exclusively to Stats Perform, Harmon – who signed to Cleveland's practice squad in November – said they cannot afford to dwell on those injuries, remaining bullish about their Super Bowl hopes.

Asked what the Browns' mentality would be for the rest of the season, Harmon said: "Find a way to win. it's not about making excuses. 

"It's not about talking about who could be there, who's not going to be there, who might be there. It's about just finding a way to win. 

"We're at the point of the season where everybody has, or is dealing with, some type of injuries on their team.

"The teams who just find a way are the teams that are going to be there in the end competing for that Lombardi. So we've just got to find a way to win at all costs."

The Browns had another injury scare last week as defensive end Myles Garrett was seen with his arm in a sling following the team's 29-12 loss to the Denver Broncos, though he was able to suit up for their road game against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13 – a 36-19 defeat.

Harmon believes Garrett, who ranks fifth in the NFL for sacks this year with 13, is the standout athlete in the league.

Asked what makes the star edge rusher special, Harmon said: "I think just his motor, his get-off, his athletic ability. Myles Garrett is truly one-of-one. 

"I was talking to a team-mate yesterday and I was like, 'Myles Garrett might be the best athlete in the NFL'. 

"Just as a pure athlete, and he looked at me and said, 'There's no might about it, he is'. Just watching how he practices, watching how he goes about his day, how he treats his profession, how he works on his craft daily. It's no surprise he is where he is. 

"It's no surprise he's going to continue to get better and terrorise quarterbacks. He takes the right approach every day. The success coming his way is because he works for it and he's earned it."

The Detroit Lions are strong contenders as they close in on the NFL playoffs and Duron Harmon believes his former side are succeeding due to the understanding and relatability of head coach Dan Campbell.

Campbell's Lions lead the NFC North after going 9-3, inspired by an energetic running game and experienced quarterback Jared Goff, who made Super Bowl LII with the defeated Los Angeles Rams.

Only C.J. Stroud (3,540), Sam Howell (3,466) and Tua Tagovailoa (3,457) have passed for more yards than Goff's 3,288, while the Lions' 1,648 rushing yards can only be bettered by the Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.

Enjoying a fine season to date, Harmon – a Lion for a season in 2020 – lauded the qualities his former Detroit side have to offer in their quest for a first playoff berth since 2016.

"What I've seen is a team that has taken the approach and the mindset of their head coach," Harmon, now of the Cleveland Browns, told Stats Perform.

"A gritty team, a tough team, a team that will not quit, a team that will fight for all 60 minutes, and a team that is continually going to be on the rise this year and for years to come.

"They have a great thing cooking in Detroit.

"I was privileged enough to sit down with coach Campbell when he got hired. Right then and there, I knew they hired the right guy.

"He said it was going to be a year-to-year thing, it wasn't what happened overnight. He understood that he understood the process that it was going to be."

As the Lions continue in their search for a first Super Bowl triumph, Harmon lauded Campbell for restoring pride among a devoted Detroit faithful.

He added: "I'm happy for what he has done for the city of Detroit because they have one of the most loyal fan bases in sports, not just in the NFL.

"All they've ever wanted was a team to compete and a team that they can be proud of and Dan Campbell has given that to them – so hats off to him.

"We still have a long season, but what they've been able to accomplish this year up to this point, and just over the last two years, it shows that they're heading in the right direction to compete for years to come."

Touching further on Campbell's qualities, Harmon believes more NFL teams should follow suit in appointing former players looking to get into coaching.

Former tight end Campbell played for the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints – as well as a spell with the Lions – in a playing career that ended in 2009.

"It was a brief, probably 20-25 minute conversation, and the energy he gave off to me was, a lot of coaches say, I'll do any and everything for you, but you can just tell he meant it," Harmon continued.

"Not only did he mean it because, obviously it was his chance to be a head coach, but because he could relate. He was in the player's shoes.

"That's one thing that I think the NFL and these owners should start doing more is looking to hire former NFL players because they can relate.

"They understand the grind, not only physically, but mentally. They understand what it means to be an NFL player.

"What better way to have a head coach, who not only can motivate the players, but also relate? So they hired the right guy and we all see it. I wish him nothing but luck."

Deshaun Watson will return for the Cleveland Browns for their Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Watson missed Cleveland's last two games because of a strained rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection was injured in a 27-3 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, and had warmed up prior to the Browns' Week 4 game against the Baltimore Ravens, but was ultimately ruled out.

Cleveland then hoped he'd be able to return from its Week 5 bye, but he remained sidelined for last Sunday's surprising 19-17 victory over the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers. P.J. Walker started last week, but didn't have much success, throwing for 192 yards and two interceptions.

Watson had his best game of the season in the game he was injured, throwing for 289 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions after throwing two TD passes and two picks in Cleveland's first two games of the season.

The Browns enter Week 7 with a 3-2 record, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for second place in the AFC North, just behind the 4-2 Ravens.

Cleveland will also have Kareem Hunt available at Indianapolis after the running back was listed as questionable with a thigh injury.

 

After losing four-time Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb for the remainder of the season, the Cleveland Browns decided to bring in a familiar face Wednesday by signing free-agent Kareem Hunt.

Chubb sustained a gruesome knee injury in Monday’s 26-22 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers after getting off to a solid start to the 2023 season with 28 carries for 170 yards.

Chubb was third in the NFL in 2022 with 1,525 rushing yards and tied for fifth in the league with 12 touchdowns on the ground.

Jerome Ford took over as the No. 1 back at Pittsburgh and will remain in that role, with Hunt serving as his backup.

Ford, a fifth-round pick by Cleveland in the 2022 NFL Draft, ran the ball 16 times for 106 yards against the Steelers and added three receptions for 25 yards and a TD.

The Browns signed Hunt, an Ohio native, in February 2019 after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in November 2018 amid an NFL investigation of a video that showed him pushing a woman in the hallway of a hotel.

He was suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Hunt, who led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards as a rookie in 2017 while with the Chiefs, ran for 1,874 yards and 16 TDs in 49 games over the last four seasons with Cleveland while totaling 132 receptions for 973 yards and seven scores.

The Browns (1-1) host the Tennessee Titans (1-1) on Sunday.

Former NFL defensive lineman Chris Smith has died aged 31.

Smith was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Arkansas in the 2014 draft and spent eight years in the league, representing teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

He last played in the NFL for the Houston Texans in 2021 before signing for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL in March of this year.

Smith's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed his death on Twitter, saying: "Rest in Peace Chris. Condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. We will miss you."

Smith's cause of death has not been released.

Several former teammates paid tribute, with Browns tight-end David Njoku declaring on Twitter: "Rest in paradise Chris Smith.

"Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is heartbreaking."

Smith also played for the Las Vegas Raiders and their former quarterback Derek Carr posted a photo of the two together and wrote: "Love you bro."

The New York Jets have added a wide receiver while getting rid of another, agreeing to a one-year contract with free agent Mecole Hardman and trading Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns.

According to NFL.com, New York will receive the Browns' second-round pick (42 overall) in this year's draft and will send Cleveland their third-round selection (74 overall) for Moore, who showed promise as a rookie in 2021 but had his role diminished this past season and requested a trade in October.

Moore became expendable after the Jets struck a deal with Hardman that could be worth up to $6.5million. The former Kansas City Chief joins a revamped receivers corps that also includes ex-Green Bay Packer Allen Lazard, who agreed to a four-year, $44m contract last week.

Swapping Moore also allows New York to boost its draft capital for a much-rumoured trade for four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Lazard's former Green Bay team-mate.

Hardman figures to replace Moore as the Jets' primary slot receiver and recorded career highs of 59 catches and 693 receiving yards in 2021.

The four-year veteran's numbers dropped to 25 receptions and 297 yards last season as he missed nine games with an abdominal injury that later required surgery, causing him to miss most of the Chiefs' playoff run to their second Super Bowl title in four years.

A second-round pick in the 2021 draft, Moore caught 43 passes for 538 yards and a team-high five touchdowns during his rookie year but began to be phased out of the offense after the first four games of last season. The soon-to-be 23-year-old had just 22 catches, 254 receiving yards and one touchdown over the Jets' final 13 games.

Moore was also benched for one game after reportedly getting into a heated disagreement with then-offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in October, which prompted a trade request the Jets would not grant at the time.

He now joins a Cleveland team in need of a slot receiver to pair with 2022 starters Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. 

The Browns are now without a pick until the 74th selection of the upcoming draft. Cleveland previously traded their first and third-round choices to Houston in the deal that sent quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Texans to the Browns. 

The Cleveland Browns have made their first major move of the NFL's free agency period by reportedly agreeing to a four-year contract with veteran defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.

According to NFL.com, Tomlinson’s deal is worth a total of $57million with $27.5m guaranteed.

A second-round pick in the 2017 draft, Tomlinson has started all 93 games he has appeared in over his six-year career, compiling 288 tackles and 13 sacks. The 29-year-old recorded 42 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 13 games for the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings in 2022.

Tomlinson spent his first four seasons with the New York Giants before signing a two-year, $21m contract with Minnesota in 2021.

The 325-pound Tomlinson fills a big need on a Browns defense that ended last season 25th in rushing yards allowed and yards per rush attempt allowed. Cleveland also finished 26th in Stats Perform's efficiency vs. expected rankings against the run after yielding 0.624 yards over expected per attempt.

Cleveland also stands to lose one of its 2022 starting defensive tackles with Taven Bryan an unrestricted free agent.

The Browns have made defensive line a top priority early in the NFL's legal tampering period, as they agreed to a three-year, $19m deal with former Houston Texans edge rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo earlier Monday.

The New England Patriots are aiming to fend off the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers by extending inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo's contract.

While Cleveland are looking for a new defensive coordinator after firing Joe Woods, while the Panthers want a new head coach.

There appears little appetite from the Patriots' side to let linebackers coach Mayo leave, however, with a team statement confirming talks on a contract extension were under way.

"The Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick have begun contract extension discussions with Jerod Mayo that would keep him with the team long-term," read a statement released to the media.

Mayo has spent his entire senior career with the Patriots since he was drafted by New England in the 2008 draft.

He retired in 2016 after three successive seasons derailed by injury, but joined the coaching staff in 2019.

New England also confirmed they are on the search for an offensive coordinator after a disappointing campaign saw them miss out on the playoffs.

The Cleveland Browns have announced they will interview former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores for their vacant defensive coordinator position on Thursday.

Flores, who led the Dolphins for three seasons before being controversially fired following the 2021 campaign, spent this past season as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 41-year-old filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL alleging racial discrimination in its hiring practices following his dismissal from Miami.

The Dolphins were also included in the complaint, which is still pending, as well as two other teams, the Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

Flores, who is black, alleged he spoke with the Broncos and Giants for open head coaching positions only to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for such vacancies.

Prior to taking over in Miami, Flores spent 11 seasons on Bill Belichick's staff with the New England Patriots, including the last three as linebackers coach.

He handled defensive play-calling duties in his final season with New England in 2018, helping the Pats to a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

Flores compiled a 24-25 record with the Dolphins, with winning seasons in both 2020 and 2021, though Miami missed out on the playoffs both years.

The Browns fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods shortly after their season ended with Sunday's 28-14 loss to the Steelers.

Cleveland previously interviewed ex-Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, a former DC for the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, for the opening on Wednesday.

The Cleveland Browns have fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods following their disappointing 2022 season.

Woods was hired in 2020 when Kevin Stefanski took over as head coach, and their partnership quickly produced results as the Browns reached the Divisional round of the AFC playoffs in Stefanski's first season.

But the Browns have since failed to replicate their success of 2020 and followed up an 8-9 2021 campaign by going 7-10 in 2022.

The Cleveland defense fared well in 2021, finishing 13th by points allowed and fifth by yards allowed.

Those numbers dropped off significantly in 2022, with the Browns 20th by points allowed and 14th in yards allowed.

A significant problem area for the Browns was giving up explosive plays. They conceded 65 plays of 20 yards or more; only 10 teams allowed more.

The Browns also struggled to defend the run, giving up 135.2 yards per game on the ground, with Cleveland ranked 25th in that regard.

"I'd like to thank Joe for his hard work and dedication in his three seasons as our defensive coordinator," Stefanski said.

"I will always have the utmost respect for Joe, the person and the coach.

"Unfortunately, we didn't perform up to our standards enough this season, and we all share in that responsibility.

"We all wish Joe and his family the best in the future."

The Cleveland Browns' franchise player Myles Garrett declared his side is looking for "volunteers, not hostages" after fellow pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney took to the media to complain about his role this week.

In an interview with Cleveland.com on Thursday, Clowney stated he felt the Browns are more concerned about getting Garrett "into the Hall of Fame instead of winning games".

He referenced the roles each of the two former number one overall draft picks were being asked to play, implying Garrett is being placed into the more favourable matchups in order to boost his statistics.

Since entering the league in 2017, Garrett has been one of the top talents at one of the sport's most valuable positions.

He finished with seven sacks as a rookie before rattling off season totals of 13.5, 10, 12, 16 and another 15 this year to bring his career tally to 73.5 – already surpassing the Browns' franchise record (62) at the age of 27.

He is fourth in the league in sacks this season, while Clowney, who has never reached double-digit sacks in any of his nine seasons, has just two in 12 games this campaign.

Speaking to reporters on Friday about Clowney's comments, Garrett said he was disappointed.

"I knew he was frustrated," he said. "We've all been frustrated – we're not winning.

"I wish we could've talked about this man-to-man... I wish he would have handled it a little bit differently."

He also broke down why he believes Clowney's narrative is false, pointing out he receives the most double-team blocks (31.3 per cent of the time) in the entire league.

"If I'm the most double-teamed guy, it's hard to say I'm getting the most favourable matchups," he said. "What I've done speaks for itself. 

"Of course they're going to put me in positions to make plays. But they're also going to be positions where I'm going to get double-teamed. 

"I move all over the line. [Clowney] has moved, as well. We're both moved to be put in favourable matchups. He's getting those same looks, at least that's what I see, and I wish we could have talked about it."

Garrett said the Browns are looking for "volunteers, not hostages" when asked if he would welcome Clowney back for a third consecutive season.

"If you feel like no one believes in you here, then go where you feel like you're wanted and loved and appreciated," he said.

Clowney, who turns 30 in February, will be a free agent this offseason.

Deshaun Watson celebrated a "special" home debut for the Cleveland Browns after leading them to victory over the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday.

Watson threw the only touchdown of the 13-3 win with a three-yard pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones in the third quarter, completing 18 of 28 passes for 161 yards with a further 22 rushing yards.

A cold and partially snowy night saw both AFC North rivals struggle to score, but Watson made the difference in his third outing for the Browns and first in Cleveland.

"It was a great, fun game on the lake, especially in the fourth quarter when [the snow] started coming down and swirling around," he said after the win. "It was fun to be out there. My first home game was a victory, and it was special. Many more to come.

"Football is coming back each and every week. I don't need to come in and try to do anything special. If we just come in and I just do my job as a quarterback, then everything is going to come in place."

Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski was pleased with his quarterback but added Watson still has room for improvement after missing so much football in the past two seasons.

"He was seeing [the field] very clearly," Stefanski said. "I thought he was very poised and making good decisions.

"There are always plays that I know he can be better, I can be better, we can design better plays and all of those type of things, but I know I continue to see a guy who is just getting better and better."

The win moved the Browns to 6-8, still just about in playoff contention ahead of Watson's second home game against the New Orleans Saints next Saturday.

Deshaun Watson led the Cleveland Browns to a 13-3 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in his first home start since his 11-game suspension as they kept alive their playoffs hopes on Saturday.

Watson threw the game's only touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones in the third quarter, with the Browns QB completing 18 of 28 passes for 161 yards with 22 rushing yards for the game at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The victory improved the Browns to 6-8 overall, going 2-1 since Watson returned, while the Ravens dropped to 9-5, with the Cincinnati Bengals moving ahead of them in top spot in the AFC North by half a game.

It was a game to forget for the Ravens, who had a run of possessions that included a missed field goal attempt, an interception and a fumble in the second and third quarters. Baltimore had three turnovers on downs too.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker missed two field goals in one game for the first time since December 2018, including putting a 48-yard attempt wide, while he had a fourth-quarter 50-yard attempt blocked.

Baltimore QB Tyler Huntley, standing in for the injured Lamar Jackson, threw 17 of 30 attempts for 138 yards, with Denzel Ward intercepting his third quarter pass in the redzone intended by DeSean Jackson with the score 6-3 at the time.

The Browns scored the game's only TD from their next drive, with Watson linking up with Amari Cooper twice for decent gains, before the QB's three-yard pass for the open Peoples-Jones.

Browns running back Nick Chubb added 99 rushing yards on 21 carries, while J.K. Dobbins was the Ravens' best offensive outlet, running 125 yards from 13 carries.

Deshaun Watson is "excited" ahead of his first home game for the Cleveland Browns, but added "I can’t control what the reaction is going to be".

Watson has played two games for the Browns since returning from his 11-game ban for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy for allegedly committing sexual assault.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback left the Houston Texans for the Browns in the offseason on a five-year deal worth $230million guaranteed.

Watson did not play in the 2021 season as accusations emerged from more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct during massage sessions, leading to the NFL-imposed ban and a record $5m fine in August.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's game against AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens, Watson said he is unsure how the fans at FirstEnergy Stadium will welcome him, having been booed in his first game back on the road to the Texans a fortnight ago.

"I am not even sure," he said. "My main objective for this weekend is going out there and just showing this crowd and showing the Cleveland fans and this city that we are going out there to compete, and this season is not over for us.

"I can't control what the reaction is going to be. I am not sure what it is going to be. Like I said, I am excited to go out there, play football and get back in the old school uniforms and the white face masks and things like that and have a little bit of fun and just try to make the Saturday something special for Cleveland."

After a disappointing comeback against the Texans in Week 13, Watson followed up with a slightly improved showing against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, albeit in a 23-10 defeat.

The 27-year-old completed 26 of 42 passes, throwing for 276 yards with one touchdown pass as a 13-yard effort found David Njoku in the third quarter.

Watson agreed that he has more to give, and vowed to improve as the Browns look to improve on their 5-8 record.

"I am not close to where I [want to be] at, and I don't want to be where I was in 2020 – I want to be better," he said. "I have a long way to go. I want to continue to improve. I want to be that player whenever I step on the field that no one can stop us.

"That is my mentality, but we have to continue to go out there and continue to show that and try to do that and not just talk about it but actually prove it on the field. I am nowhere near where I want to be. This team also is nowhere near where we want to be. We have to continue to just keep growing and finish the season strong."

Deshaun Watson struggled on his return from an 11-game suspension where he was booed throughout as the Cleveland Browns won on the road against the Houston Texans 27-14 on Sunday.

Watson, who had been banned for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy for allegedly committing sexual assault, completed 12 of his 22 attempts for 131 yards with no touchdown passes and one interception.

The Browns' defense picked up Watson with two defensive touchdowns and a punt-return score to improve their record to 5-7, sitting third in the AFC North.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback had left the Texans for the Browns in the offseason on a five-year deal worth $230million guaranteed, one of the richest and most guaranteed contracts in NFL history.

That trade came after Watson had not played in the 2021 season as accusations emerged from more than two dozen women of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct during massage sessions, leading to the NFL-imposed 11-game ban and record $5m fine in August.

Watson's first NFL regular-season game in 700 days was met with displeasure, with his former fans booing and jeering him throughout.

"They're supposed to boo," Watson told reporters after the game. "I'm a Cleveland Brown now, and we're on the road, so they're supposed to boo."

Watson again refused to answer any non-football questions after the game, having been asked if he had any remorse for his actions that led to his suspension.

"That's something that, legal and clinical, we've answered before," Watson said. "They don't want me to address anything like that.

"Of course, it was a tough situation. The suspension was tough. But at the same time, my main focus is just trying to be 1-0 as a football player today.

"I was just excited to be back on the field today. I did everything that I was asked and was required to do. I did all that. I was able to play and be on the field today."

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski conceded Watson was rusty after not played for a season-and-a-half.

"Obviously you're missing a bunch of time so you've got to get back in it," Stefanski said. "You've got to get this first one out of the way. But I know what the kid is capable of."

The Browns face the 8-4 Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday.

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