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News & Notes: Browns could get a boost at tight end this week

David Njoku is expected to be back on the active roster after missing the past three games

David Njoku is expected to be back with the team this week after spending the past three on injured reserve, coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday.

The fourth-year tight end suffered a knee injury in Cleveland's season-opening loss to the Ravens. He caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown before going down with the injury.

Without Njoku, the Browns have leaned heavily on Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant. Second-year player Stephen Carlson also has been a contributor and played 16 snaps in Sunday's win over the Cowboys.

New this season, a player going on injured reserve is allowed to return after missing only three games, and teams may return an unlimited number of players from injured reserve throughout the year.

Other Injury News

DT Larry Ogunjobi suffered an oblique injury during Sunday's game and will be monitored throughout the week, Stefanski said. In his absence, Vincent Taylor and Jordan Elliott saw an increase in action.

WR KhaDarel Hodge suffered a hamstring injury during pre-game warmups and did not play Sunday. Stefanski said Hodge's injury is "week to week."

Without Hodge, the Browns used just three wide receivers during the game, and that included rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones, who was making his NFL debut.

Stefanski said RB Kareem Hunt came out of the game "pretty good" after dealing with a groin injury leading up to it. Hunt ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns following a week in which he practiced just once.

"That dude is a warrior," Stefanski said. "I love watching that guy play. To make it to that game then perform how he did, team player all the way. Really, really proud of him."

Check out the best photos from the Browns win over the Dallas Cowboys yesterday by the Browns photo team

Game Ball for Mom

CB Denzel Ward snagged the game-sealing interception and never let the ball out of his grasp — even after the Browns departed Dallas and returned to Cleveland.

Ward said Monday he gave the ball to his mother.

"I know she enjoyed that watching the game," Ward said.

The interception was the first of Ward's 2020 season and the sixth of his career. The Pro Bowl CB has been battling through a groin injury that has limited his practice time and kept him out of the second half of Cleveland's Week 3 win over Washingtion. He didn't miss a snap Sunday, playing all 82 plays.

"For him to fight through the injuries that he has been fighting through to answer the bell and then play the way he is playing and make that play at the end there to seal the game, I thought was outstanding," Stefanski said.

Teaching Moment

Peoples-Jones was at the center of a potential game-changing play when he let a Cowboys kickoff roll by him during Sunday's fourth quarter. The ball just crossed into the end zone for a touchback, but it was a little too close for comfort for Stefanski.

"He needs to make sure he makes great decisions there," Stefanski said. "He did a nice job yesterday for us and he is going to continue to do a nice job for us but that is one that I would like to make sure is going in the end zone for him to be like that." 

Peoples-Jones returned three kickoffs for an average of 24.3 yards Sunday. He took back one punt for 13 yards.

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