Linebacker Christian Kirksey
The Browns on Tuesday released linebacker Christian Kirksey, a veteran who left his mark on the field and throughout the community during his six seasons in Cleveland.
Kirksey, a former third-round pick out of Iowa, was one of the team's longest-tenured players who was a constant source of energy and enthusiasm inside the Browns locker room.
"Christian Kirksey has been a vital member of our organization for the last six seasons because of his contributions on and off the field," said Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry. "He has been a strong leader both in our locker room and in the Cleveland community. These are difficult decisions and, in Christian's case, more challenging because of how well he has represented our team. We thank him for his dedication and wish him nothing but the best in the next phase of his career."
Over six seasons, Kirksey appeared in 73 games with 54 starts, serving as a team captain from 2017-19. He didn't miss a game in his first four seasons but was hampered by a hamstring injury in 2018 that limited him to seven games and a chest injury in 2019 that ended his season after Week 2. Kirksey's 281 tackles from 2016-17 were the second-most by any player in the NFL.
For his Browns career, Kirksey compiled 484 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Kirksey, though, did far more than help the Browns on the field.
He was one of the most active Browns in the community, participating in numerous school visits, youth football camps, hospital visits, supporting the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and taking a large role in the Browns social justice efforts. Kirksey was the Browns' 2016 PFWA Dino Lucarelli Good Guy award winner and the team's 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Kirksey created the Kirkoland Foundation with the purpose to aid and encourage individuals to be them, be proud, be their own rock star. He has hosted numerous events to benefit kids through his foundation, including youth football camps. He's also provided opportunities for local kids in need, including bowling events, fashion shows, bringing kids to Cedar Point or sporting events. Kirksey also dedicated numerous hours visiting neighborhoods in Cleveland, routinely meeting kids at local rec centers alongside safety forces who work in the neighborhoods to show unity.