With free agency looming, Anthony Walker 'would love' to stay with Browns - News Herald
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With free agency looming, Anthony Walker ‘would love’ to stay with Browns – News Herald

It isn’t arduous to comply with the trail again to find when working protection grew to become a giant downside for the Browns in 2022 — an issue that led to Joe Woods being fired as defensive coordinator and the group ending final in AFC North.

Center linebacker Anthony Walker, who led the Browns with 69 tackles in 2021, suffered a season-ending quadriceps tear after the Steelers’ first possession of the second half in a recreation performed Sept. 22 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Having to play 14 video games with out one among their most dependable forwards was a kind of “you do not know what you have bought until it is over” conditions for the Browns.

4 video games later, Walker’s substitute, Jacob Phillips, tore a pectoral muscle leading to a fourth-quarter sort out with the Ravens. His season ended with 10 video games performed. Sione Takitaki suffered a torn ACL in a recreation with the Texans on Dec. 4. A foot harm ended Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s season with 4 video games early.

Walker, 27, and Takitake are among the many 17 Browns who might be unrestricted free brokers in March with out new contracts. Taketake has simply accomplished the fourth yr of his four-year rookie contract. Walker was on a one-year contract in 2021 and one other one-year deal in 2022.

“I really like being right here, however it’s a topic for my agent and (Common Supervisor) Andrew Berea,” Walker mentioned January 9 as he cleaned out his locker at Berea’s. “I really like Cleveland. I hate shifting and packing and shifting. That is one among my pet peeves. However it will be thrilling if I might come again right here.”

“On the finish of the day, it is a enterprise. I get that. Once I was a younger man, I most likely did not get that a lot. I keep in mind my coach, the brand new yr (with the Colts), he was like, ‘The group is not going to look the identical subsequent yr,’ and it was actually a group.” Completely totally different. That is what the NFL is.”

The Browns changed Woods final week once they employed Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. Schwartz would uncover, with out a lot digging, that Walker means extra to the group than simply what his sort out numbers reveal. He’s the chief of defence. He is the one along with his hand on the jack when the protection is navigating uneven seas.

“Anthony is a large, huge a part of our soccer group, what he brings to us on and off the sector,” mentioned head coach Kevin Stefanski a day after the harm, earlier than studying of the MRI outcomes that exposed a torn quadriceps tendon. “If you see the eye (by the coaches) on the sector, it is clearly not been good. We hope in opposition to hope for Anthony.”

Walker was already on the shelf by the point Jadevon Clooney frowned about the way in which he was used within the recreation with the Ravens in Baltimore on Oct. 23. The Browns misplaced, 23-20, and after the sport, whereas reporters waited exterior within the hallway, gamers could possibly be heard screaming contained in the locker room. Clooney went public with his beef Three days earlier than the season ended, a narrative appeared on Cleveland.com. Clooney might be a free agent in March.

“I feel small issues turn out to be huge issues for those who do not cope with them when they’re small issues,” Walker mentioned Jan. 9. “I am not going to speak about this case. Simply, particulars matter, and that is the sport of soccer. That is the sport of life.”

“It’s important to be element oriented and cope with issues as they arrive. On the finish of the day, we did not get the job accomplished. And that is as a group, not defensive, not in a single place, not only one aspect of the ball. Discover a option to win as a group.”

Perry’s customary reply when requested about re-signing suspended free brokers is that he wish to preserve all of them earlier than including doing so will not be potential when coping with a wage cap.

Walker’s base wage was $1,035,000 in 2022. Discovering a option to preserve him orange helmet for an additional yr could be a superb use of Jimmy Hassan’s cash.

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