BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns cornerback Kevin Johnson remains hospitalized with a lacerated liver, a serious injury sustained in practice when rookie tight end Harrison Bryant landed on him during a routine play.
Johnson, who was signed this past offseason by Cleveland and expected to be the team’s starting nickel back, was admitted to University Hospitals on Wednesday.
The team said the 28-year-old is resting comfortably and expected to remain in the hospital for at least another 24 hours for observation.
It’s too early to say how long Johnson could be sidelined as liver lacerations can range in severity from mild to very severe to fatal.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Johnson was diving to break up a pass in a red-zone drill intended for Bryant. Stefanski called it a “totally normal” play.
“Unlucky,” Stefanski said. “Hoping, for him, that he’ll be back when he’s ready. The most important thing now is he’s safe and we want him to get well very soon.”
Stefanski credited the team’s medical training staff for recognizing the potential seriousness of Johnson’s injury.
The Browns signed Johnson, a first-round draft pick by Houston in 2015, to a one-year, $3.5 million contract this offseason. He has been slowed by numerous injuries during his NFL career. Johnson spent last season with Buffalo after four with the Texans.
Earlier this week, Johnson said he hoped to battle for a starting job in training camp. He flashed during the first few practices with an interception and a couple of breakups.
Before his latest injury, Johnson said overcoming previous ones — he’s broken his foot twice, injured his knee and had concussions — have made him mentally stronger.
“I have high expectations for myself,” he said. “It showed me that I am still hungry, and I still believe in myself and what I want to be as a player. It definitely shaped me. I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder.”
Johnson’s injury is the most serious for the Browns, who have had more than their share already in Stefanski’s first camp.
On Monday, star running back Nick Chubb sustained a concussion when he was thrown down by linebacker Mack Wilson in the first fully padded practice this summer. A day later, Wilson sustained a hyperextended left knee and is expected to miss significant time.
The Browns have also been missing defensive end Myles Garrett (hamstring) and starting center JC Tretter (knee surgery). Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been easing back after undergoing offseason hip surgery.
Stefanski said Garrett, who recently signed a five-year, $125 million contract, will participate in individual drills on Thursday.