Cornerback Howard Wilson, the Browns' fourth-round pick last month out of Houston, broke his kneecap in practice on Friday and will undergo surgery soon. He'll be out a significant amount of time, possibly the entire season. He's one of 10 Browns draft picks in 2017.
"It's disappointing but this a part of playing football,'' Wilson said in a statement from the Browns. "It was kind of a freak thing. I was just running around and my knee just kind of locked up on me. I didn't think much of it but the training staff wanted to get the proper testing so I got the MRI. I'm a positive person so I will have the surgery, work hard in my rehab and look forward to getting back to out there and helping this team win some games.''
The timetable for Wilson's return will be determined after the surgery. It's his second major knee injury in two years. He suffered a torn right ACL in week three of his 2015 season and sat out the rest of the year.
Wilson (6-0, 184) signed his rookie contract on Thursday and broke the kneecap late in practice.
"It's unfortunate,'' said said head coach Hue Jackson. "He'll be out for a while, significant time. So we'll deal with it accordingly. His spirits are high. He understands it. He understands what he's dealing with. He's already started to the process of getting his mind beyond that so he can get himself back as soon as he can."
Jackson said losing Wilson, whom the Browns used a relatively high pick on, is a significant blow.
"Absolutely,'' said Jackson. "Any time you lose a player that you drafted ... when you're trying to see what he is and how he can contribute, that's hard.
"I lean on [Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown]. He'll go back and we'll look at ways and explore ways to get our team better in that area. So I feel good about that. But I feel bad for the player 'cause he had worked hard and was excited about being out there."
The Browns traded two fifth-round picks to Denver to select Wilson at No. 126. They also received the next-to-last pick in the draft, No. 252, which they used on NC State running back Matthew Dayes.
A ballhawk, Wilson had five interceptions in 2016.
"I feel like I'm a physical corner that can take the ball away,'' he said on draft weekend. "The ball is in the air it has to be mine. ... I just have to go get it every time."
Wilson rebounded last year after the ACL surgery in 2015.
"When I sat the year out, it made me love the game more,'' he said on draft night. "It made me cherish it and not take it for granted. It made me take every play like it was my last. Anytime that I had the opportunity to get the ball, that's what I was going to do."
The Browns hope he comes back with the same vengeance this time around.