Hardesty entered training camp as the favorite to back up Trent Richardson in the Browns' backfield, then hurt his thumb and underwent knee surgery during the month. Hardesty was expected to miss just two to three games, but the organization was tired of waiting for him to develop. He was drafted two head coaches ago when the Browns traded up to take him in the second round.
The Browns also lost potential backup running back Dion Lewis for the season with a broken leg. That leaves Brandon Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya behind Richardson on the depth chart. It's easy to imagine the Browns' offense cratering if Richardson gets hurt again.
The Browns also announced they claimed outside linebacker Paul Hazel from Jacksonville and punter Colton Schmidt from San Francisco off waivers. The Browns also waived linebacker Kendrick Adams, offensive lineman Dominic Alford, wide receiver Dominique Croom, defensive lineman Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, fullback Owen Marecic, offensive lineman Ryan Miller and tight end Travis Tannahill. They placed offensive lineman Chris Faulk on reserve/non-football injury.