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Browns place Fujita, Stephens on I.R.

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By PFW staff

The Browns placed starting SLB Scott Fujita (hand) and DRE Emmanuel Stephens (pectoral) on injured reserve on Tuesday, the club announced. The Browns also confirmed that LS Ryan Pontbriand had been waived.

To fill the three roster spots vacated, the Browns promoted LB Benjamin Jacobs and DL Brian Sanford from their practice squad and signed rookie LS Christian Yount, who was Tampa Bay's long-snapper for the first seven games of the season. Yount, 23, had been filling in for Andrew Economos, who was then on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Yount played collegiately at UCLA.

Sanford was on the Browns' roster for eight games last season but did not appear in a game. The 24-year-old Sanford, who played collegiately at Temple, is in his second NFL season.

The 23-year-old Jacobs, an undrafted rookie from Fresno State, had been on the Browns' practice squad all season, as had Sanford.

Fujita, 32, started 10 games this season, notching 51 tackles. The Browns' top backup on the strong side, Quinton Spears, missed Week 11 with a hamstring injury, and their top backup on the weak side, Kaluka Maiava, suffered a knee injury in the loss at Cincinnati on Sunday. 

Stephens, 24, had replaced Jayme Mitchell as the first-string right defensive end and had started the last three games before suffering the pectoral injury. He recorded 15 tackles.

The Browns also announced the signing of three players to their practice squad: DL Ayanga Okpokowuruk, DB David Sims and LB Brian Smith.

The way we see it

Fujita has been a solid contributor in his two seasons in Cleveland but will miss the final weeks of the campaign for a second straight year because of injury. How the Browns proceed at outside linebacker remains to be seen, considering the injury issues at the position. Mitchell seems likely to step back into the starting lineup at right end.

Pontbriand's departure comes after two notable snapping mishaps in the last three weeks.

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