Steinbach Placed on IR

Browns starting left guard Eric Steinbach will be lost for the entire 2011 season.

Aug. 30, 2011

Steinbach Placed on IR

By Fred Greetham

BEREA—The talk of Eric Steinbach having surgery on his ailing back have become a reality. Shurmur said the surgery went well, but Steinbach would be placed on injured reserve and be out for the season.

"He's a guy who was a starter and has played well," Shurmur said. "We had to make a decision."

Shurmur confirmed that Steinbach was to have had surgery at 10 a.m., while the Browns were practicing. Shurmur said the team had been seeing if his back would respond to treatment, rather than surgery.

"We made the decision late in the day (Monday to do surgery)," Shurmur said. "We tried to do treatments."

Rookie Jason Pinkston has been working in his place.

"We have guys who can play left guard," Shurmur said. "(Pinkston) has lined up as the starter. Any time somebody is lining up with the ones, it's their job to lose."

Shurmur was asked if that meant Pinkston would start in the season opener.

"It looks like right now he might be (the starter)," he said. "I wouldn't presume anything."

Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas knows he will have to break in someone next to him.

"It's definitely disappointing that Eric has to have surgery," Thomas said."He has been a large part of the (offensive line's) success the past four years."

If it's Pinkston, John Greco, Oniel Cousins or another player, Thomas knows it will be hard to replace Steinbach.

"He's frustrated and disappointed," Thomas said. "It's definitely a loss.

"It's a ‘next man up' situation."

Thomas knows he has his job to do in a game, but he said there are things he can do to help a young player.

"The biggest think in the game is to keep his confidence up," Thomas said. "Remind him if he makes a mistake that it's a long game and you have to keep your head up."

The Browns claimed offensive lineman Cousins off of waivers from the Ravens. However, Shurmur said that they were planning on claiming him anyway.

"We picked up Cousins, who has some experience in the league," Shurmur said. "We made the decision to claim him when he became available, regardless of (Steinbach's) status."

Shurmur said that Cousins could play guard and tackle.

"He has played right tackle, but he's been flexible," Shurmur said.

Cousins started training camp as the Ravens' right tackle, but fell out of favor and he was moved to guard. The Ravens signed Bryant McKinnie and Cousins became expendable.

"It came as a big surprise, but this is a business," Cousins said. "(The Browns) gave me an opportunity and I want to make the most of it.

"I'm going to learn from the experience and move forward," he said. "I'm ready to roll."

Cousins is expected to play right away against the Bears. He doesn't know if he'll be at tackle or guard.

"I just want to come in and do my best and put my best foot forward and hope for the best," he said. "I liked to play right tackle when I was in Baltimore, but I'm a versatile player. I'll do whatever they want me to do."

Cousins (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) was a third-round selection (99th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft from UTEP. He played in 25 games for the Ravens, including four starts.

Cousins is most likely battling for a roster spot with Brandon Braxton, Phil Trautwein, John Greco and Pat Murray.

Notebook

RB Battle: With RB Brandon Jackson sidelined indefinitely with a toe injury, running backs Quinn Porter and Armond Smith are battling for the third spot.

Right now, they are the only running backs on the roster behind Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty. It is unclear if the Browns will go with two backs if Jackson can't play, pick up a veteran or go with one on the roster.

Smith showed blazing speed on an 81-yard for a touchdown against the Lions, but fumble the ball twice back to Detroit later in the game.

The preseason finale for both players could be pivotal in their future with the Browns. Smith is the leading rusher for the Browns in the preseason with 145 yards on 20 carries, including the touchdown. Porter has 42 yards on 10 carries. Each player has one reception.

"I want to make most of the opportunity (against the Bears)," Smith said.

Injury Update: OL Eric Steinbach (back), RB Brandon Jackson (toe), LB Titus Brown (ankle)and DB Eric Hagg (knee) did not practice. TE Ben Watson (hamstring), WR Carlton Mitchell (finger), LB Chris Gocong (neck) and DL Travis Ivey worked on the side with trainers.

"Ben is fine and with (Carlton) the finger needs to settle down," Shurmur said.

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