It's not all joy on this victory Monday. One day after taking down the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10, the Cleveland Browns announced that veteran safety Rodney McLeod Jr. is done for the season after suffering a biceps injury on Sunday.
McLeod was not having his best statistical season to this point but his impact on the team goes far beyond tackles or interceptions. His 2023 campaign will end with 29 tackles, 13 solo, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup. All of that removed, McLeod has been an unquestioned leader of the Browns' defense and this team as a whole.
McLeod signed with Cleveland after the Browns brought in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in the offseason. McLeod played under Schwartz during his time in Philadelphia and was a part of their 2018 Super Bowl championship.
As this Browns team has experienced incredible adversity this year, McLeod has been a voice of leadership in the locker room. When the team learned it had lost quarterback Deshaun Watson for the entire season, it was McLeod who talked to his teammates emphasizing that their ultimate goals could still be accomplished. He's lived through similar adversity during his career when the Eagles won Super Bowl 52 with a backup quarterback.
McLeod has served as the backup safety to fellow newbie, Juan Thornhill and have both done a solid job as the deep coverage safety in the Browns defense. With Thornhill battling a calf injury, the Browns are currently left with, Grant Delpit, D'Anthony Bell and rookie Ronnie Hickman on the depth chart at safety. Thornhill is expected to return from his injury at some point, but the team may need to explore additional depth options at the position.
For McLeod, it's unclear what his future holds in Cleveland. He is only on a one-year contract and after a season-ending injury the 33-year-old will have some decisions to make in the offseason.
Regardless of what happens in the future, McLeod has been an important member of this Browns defense and locker room and will certainly be missed on the field.