Browns coach Pat Shurmur confirmed that starting linebacker Chris Gocong will miss the 2012 season after tearing his Achilles tendon at Saturday's morning practice. Gocong held his head in his hands as he was carted off the field, seemingly aware that his season was over.
"It's an Achilles for Gocong, so he'll have surgery," Shurmur said via The Associated Press. "There's no point in trying to conceal anything. It's an Achilles."
A Browns spokesman told The AP that Gocong could have surgery as soon as Monday.
It's a tough break for Gocong, who signed a sizable contract extension with the Browns last September. The injury also comes at a thin position for Cleveland. With Scott Fujita suspended for the first three games of the season, the Browns will be very thin at linebacker other than stalwart D'Qwell Jackson.
Fourth-round draft pick James-Michael Johnson has thumped a lot of runners in his first training camp and looks sure to start after this injury. Kaluka Maiava looks like the other favorite to start. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills will test the Browns early on the ground.
"(Gocong) was outstanding," Fujita said. "He's come so far as a player. He was rewarded by the club. He came back and worked really, really hard, came to training camp in great shape. It's tough."