It wouldn’t be Cleveland Browns football without injuries affecting at least one decision each week.
Kevin Stefanski already listed three players as out for Saturday’s wild-card game in Houston.
And four other players are listed as questionable, including cornerback Denzel Ward.
Camryn Justice of WEWS News reports the team called up two players from their practice squad for Saturday (via Camryn Justice on Twitter).
The #Browns have elevated RB John Kelly Jr. and K Riley Patterson from the practice squad ahead of tomorrow's playoff game against the Texans.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) January 12, 2024
Kicker Riley Patterson was no surprise as Dustin Hopkins continues to rehab his tricky hamstring, but the second player is a training camp fan favorite, running back John Kelly.
Kelly, a 2018 sixth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams, has toiled on the Browns practice squad since 2020.
He did not see any action in Cleveland’s 2020 playoff run but got into five games over the next two seasons.
After another solid preseason, Kelly was not included on the Browns’ initial 2023 practice squad, but as injuries piled up, Andrew Berry included the veteran among a group of midseason running back additions.
Kelly’s opportunity appears to indicate the worst for Pierre Strong and his injured back.
Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt will handle the bulk of running back duties against the Texans.
Strong contributes to Cleveland’s special teams, a role Kelly has handled in his previous limited role.
Patterson made a field goal and six of his seven extra point attempts for Cleveland over the past two weeks, but Stefanski’s decisions on fourth down could be affected by the former Lion’s range limitations.
Hopkins hit all 8 field goal tries from beyond 50 yards this year, while Patterson is just 3-for-6 in his career from deep.