Several notable Browns players won’t play Saturday night in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert (groin) headlines the list. The earliest the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft would be able to make his NFL debut is Aug. 18, when the Browns will visit the Washington Redskins in the second preseason game.
Wide receivers Travis Benjamin (knee) and Nate Burleson (hamstring), free safety Tashaun Gipson (knee), defensive end Billy Winn (abdomen) and Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron (shoulder) have been ruled out, too.
Benjamin, who’s coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last October, does not have a new knee injury. The Browns are simply being cautious with him and Gipson, who sprained his left knee during practice Aug. 1. Gipson participated in the team’s most recent practice Thursday, though an athletic trainer examined his knee on the field.
Gary Barnidge will start in place of Cameron at tight end. Phil Taylor will start for Winn at right defensive end.
Also, the following Browns players did not make the trip to Detroit: Inside linebacker Darius Eubanks (shoulder), offensive linemen Reid Fragel (lower leg), Randall Harris (knee) and Alex Parsons (knee) and outside linebacker Eric Martin (concussion). Offensive lineman Nick McDonald (wrist) remains on the non-football injury list.
Three Lions players will sit out: Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and wide receivers Calvin Johnson and TJ Jones. Ansah and Johnson, arguably the best receiver in the NFL, are starters.