Kevin Johnson's first season with the Cleveland Browns has encountered a frightening turn.
The cornerback suffered a lacerated liver when a teammate landed on him during Wednesday's practice, and he was admitted to University Hospitals, the team announced. Johnson is resting comfortably but will be in the hospital for at least another 24 hours for observation, according to the team.
Johnson's luck is among the worst for former first-round picks when it comes to staying healthy enough to play. The former 16th-overall pick out of Wake Forest missed 29 games in his four-year career with the team that drafted him, Houston, before the Texans ultimately released him in March 2019. His injury list is extensive -- broken foot (twice), torn MCL, multiple concussions -- and has been the biggest knock on his stock throughout his career.
Just two days ago, Johnson was speaking openly with reporters about the frustration he's experienced due to the aforementioned injuries.
When healthy, Johnson is an effective player. He demonstrated that last year in his lone season with the Bills, where he appeared in 16 games as a nickelback and recorded 36 tackles, five passes defended and one sack as part of a stingy Buffalo defense.
That production earned him a one-year, $3 million deal with the Browns, where he was expected to serve in a similar role in a secondary that also includes former No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward and 2019 second-rounder Greedy Williams.
A lacerated liver is a fairly rare and obviously serious injury in the NFL. The last notable occurrence of such an injury came during the 2007 season, when Titans tight end Bo Scaife landed on injured reserve with a lacerated liver.
Determining a timetable for Johnson's return isn't exactly a priority for those involved at this time. Johnson's recovery is most important, as football can wait for the 28-year-old.