Browns Rookie CB Howard Wilson Won’t Need Surgery After Fracturing Kneecap


The AFC North has not had much success lately in attempting to acquire cornerbacks from Houston in the draft. Last year, the Bengals lost their first-round pick, William Jackson III, to a season-ending injury during the summer, and, needless to say, he never got a chance to play for them in 2016.

This year, the Cleveland Browns dipped into that Houston pool, trading up in the fourth round to take cornerback Howard Wilson. In his very first practice at rookie minicamp, he suffered a fractured kneecap. The immediate belief was that he was going to require surgery that would end his season as well, but a second-opinion diagnosis was more optimistic.

The follow-up diagnosis projected a recovery time from the injury in the ballpark of three to four months, which leaves open the possibility that he could return to the practice field at some point during the 2017 season, though getting up to speed to be able to contribute to the defense may be another matter.

It’s disappointing but this is a part of playing football”, the rookie defender recently told reporters. “It was kind of a freak thing. I was just running around and my knee just kind of locked up on me. I didn’t think much of it but the training staff wanted to get the proper testing so I got the MRI”.

This was a statement that he made on Saturday prior to getting a second option, so it reflected the contemporary belief that he would not be able to recover on his own. He continued, saying, “I’m a positive person so I will have the surgery, work hard in my rehab and look forward to getting back to out there and helping this team win some games”.


Though the Browns annoyingly do not distinguish between cornerbacks and safeties on the roster listed on their website, one would figure that the recently-signed Jason McCourty may well start opposite Joe Haden for Cleveland this year at the cornerback position.

Jamar Taylor and 2016 undrafted free agent Briean Boddy Calhoun are two other players at the position who played significant roles a year ago. Much of the other names are new, or at least fresh faces, with many featuring the “R” or “1” designations next to their name.

The Browns traded two fifth-round picks in order to move into the fourth round to draft Wilson, the earliest cornerback that they drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, though they also took versatile defensive back Jabrill Peppers in the first round.

It is reasonable to believe that Wilson could have played a role for their defense as a rookie, especially at the time, before they acquired McCourty. Even if he is able to return to football activities this season, it still seems like a longshot that he would be prepared to contribute in a way that would justify taking somebody else off the field.

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Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Darth Blount 47

    Good for Wilson. He’s a guy that I hoped would be in the conversation for the back-end of a CB double-dip for us at the position in the draft. Really annoying to see just how many of the guys that I liked pre-draft, ultimately go to our division rivals. With Caleb Brantley now cleared of his alleged wrongdoing, Cleveland likely just stole a 1st/2nd round talent, all the way in the 6th round! Their draft looks better and better, especially if Wilson avoided the more seriously projected injury.

    I really think it was a very wise and astute move to immediately react to the Wilson injury, by going out and grabbing up McCourty. The Browns aren’t making nearly as many missteps as they used to. This analytics department is humming along quite nicely. Looking at their roster, I firmly believe that with another solid draft in 2018, the Browns will instantly become contenders for this division. When glancing over their team, one can’t find too many holes anymore, that can’t be plugged with one more good combination of off-season and draft – loaded with selections (which they conveniently for them, have).

  • Uncle Rico.

    That’s pretty fishy. Considering the weird events of his pro day, where he refused to do anything at all. In spite of scouts begging him to just run positional drills, he refused. Then just tossing the ball around on the sideline, someone ran up and quickly made him stop. I suspected after reading that back then he might be concealing an injury. Then 2 seconds with the team, fluke mystery injury. Have to wonder if the Browns drafted pre-damaged goods. Wilson was a guy I liked from the Poinsettia Bowl and had interest in. After reading about the weird happenings at his pro day, I thought it wise of any interested team to burn a visit to put him thru their own medical check. Curious which teams brought him in, and if they knew. Browns didn’t bring him in.