CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have lost their leading tackler for the second time this season.
Eric Barton was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an unspecified injury, leaving the Browns without their two starting inside linebackers for the final eight games this season. D'Qwell Jackson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery last month.
In announcing Barton was done for the year, the Browns did not reveal his injury or a timetable for his return. ESPN.com had previously reported that the 32-year-old Barton has a bulging disc in his neck and was contemplating surgery.
"I feel bad for Eric because I know how much passion he has for the game and what it means to him," Mangini said in a statement. "His ability to run the defense and allow those around him to play better will be greatly missed."
Mangini would not comment during the team's bye week about reports Barton had a serious neck injury.
With Barton out, the Browns likely will use a combination of rookies David Veikune and Kaluka Maiava on the inside of their 3-4 defensive scheme with Jason Trusnik and Blake Costanzo also getting time. Outside linebacker David Bowens has played some inside linebacker this season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press