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Browns lose LB Christian Kirksey, DB E.J. Gaines for season

The Browns are down two more defensive starters for the rest of the season.

Cleveland on Wednesday placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and defensive back E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, effectively ending their seasons. Kirksey, who has battled through a number of injuries this season, hurt his hamstring in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. Gaines sustained his second concussion in less than a month in the first quarter.

Filling one of the roster spots is defensive back Juston Burris, whom the Browns signed off the Jets’ practice squad. In addition, the team signed defensive back Arrion Springs to the practice squad and released offensive lineman Jake Eldrenkamp.

Kirksey, a fifth-year veteran and team captain, started seven games, racking up 29 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. In the weeks since Joe Schobert went down with a hamstring injury, Kirksey was the lead conductor of the defense and relayed calls from the sidelines. Cleveland hopes to have Schobert, who has missed three games, back on the field soon.

Gaines, who signed with the Browns in the offseason, started two games and appeared in six. He had one interception and three passes defensed.

Officially in his third year, Burris (6-0, 212) was a 2016 fourth-round (118th overall) selection by the Jets and was added to the club’s practice squad after being waived on Oct. 27. Appearing in 34 career games with two starts, Burris registered 28 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions since 2016. This season, he saw game action in four contests and was inactive for three. Burris is a product of Raleigh, N.C. and played collegiately at North Carolina State.

Springs (5-11, 208), a rookie out of Oregon, was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in May. He spent four weeks on the Browns’ practice squad earlier this season. He has also spent time on the Chiefs’ and New Orleans Saints’ practice squads this year. Springs is a product of San Antonio, Texas.

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