There have been reports Browns inside linebacker Eric Barton will miss the rest of the season with a severe neck injury. True to form, Browns head coach Eric Mangini would not confirm the severity of Barton's injury, but did confirm Barton missed practice on Wednesday.
"Eric, like any of our players, is going through tests and we'll see where it is," Mangini said.
"That's where we are right now, just testing and evaluating, then we'll make a decision."
Barton is one of the few players to start all eight games for the Browns on defense. He trails D'Qwell Jackson by one for the team lead in combined tackles with 58, including numerous tackles for a loss which occurred in critical situations.
Mangini did not specify who would replace Barton on defense.
The likely scenario is to have veteran David Bowens take over for Eric Barton at one middle linebacker spot. Rookie Kaluka Maiava would start in place of Bowens (who filled in for D'Qwell Jackson) and Jason Trusnik would continue to play as the strong side outside linebacker.
With Eric Barton and D'Qwell Jackson gone, the Browns would be without both of their starting inside linebackers and defensive captains.