Pass-rushing linebacker Antwan Peek suffered a season-ending knee injury in
practice Wednesday. Coach Romeo Crennel said Peek tore his right patellar
tendon. Peek was operated on Thursday morning.
The injury means an increased role for rookie Alex Hall, a seventh-round pick
from Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C.
"It is a big jump, but I'm ready for it," Hall said when asked about facing
the Cowboys in the season opener Sunday. "They didn't bring me in just to sit
around and look. They brought me in to help and play. I'm prepared."
The Browns filled Peek's roster spot by re-signing Shantee Orr, a linebacker
they signed in the offseason to replace Chaun Thompson as a special teams player
and a fill-in at linebacker. Orr was released Saturday when rosters were cut to
Orr had 10.5 sacks over the first five years of his career. Seven of those
were in 2005 when he was with Houston. He had 1.5 sacks over the last two years.
The Browns were counting on Peek to provide pressure from the left side with
Kamerion Wimbley rushing from the right. Peek was bothered by minor injuries in
2007. He missed only two games, but because he was always hurt, he was never
completely healthy. He had only four sacks.
Peek underwent arthroscopic surgery on July 31 to remove cartilage in his
knee. He was excited to practice in full pads Wednesday. Then his season ended
and the Browns' pass-rush plans had to be adjusted.
"Antwan is a good player. It hurts to lose him," Wimbley said. "But we still
have Willie McGinest. We have Shantee Orr back and we have Alex Hall. All those
players are capable of playing. I think we'll be fine."
Hall started against the Lions and Bears and totaled two tackles and a
quarterback hurry, causing coach Romeo Crennel to say Hall looked better in
practice than in games. But now here the rookie is, focusing on Cowboys
quarterback Tony Romo. McGinest will start. Hall, lanky at 6-5, 250, would play
in pass-rush situations.
"Hall and Orr will both have to play Sunday," Crennel said. "The fact Hall
has made some progress during training camp is a plus for him. Experience is a
plus for Orr. Orr has good first-step quickness. He showed ability to rush the
passer. He might surprise some people.
"Hall continued to make progress -- maybe not as fast as initially. You flash
in this league, more gets added to your plate. Sometimes that progress slows a
little bit, but he's still coming along. We still like him."