Nick Harris, the third-year center who was expected to start this season, is likely to need season-ending surgery on his right knee after he was carted off the field during the Browns first offensive series Friday in their preseason game against the Jaguars.
"Nick Harris is likely going to need surgery, which would end his season," head coach Kevin Stefanski said Saturday. "We're still gathering information. I want to make sure we have all the information before we come to that conclusion."
Harris has started two games since he was drafted by the Browns in the fifth round in 2020. He was the backup to longtime center JC Tretter for the last two years, and he worked diligently at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus throughout the offseason preparing to become the Browns' next center in 2022.
"Nick certainly is a guy that's been working so hard this offseason," Stefanski said. "We're really hoping it's not a season-long thing because the kid just works so hard."
Harris was replaced Friday by Ethan Pocic, a 6-foot-6, 309-pound center who signed with the Browns this offseason in free agency after spending the last five years with the Seahawks. Pocic, a 2017 second-round pick from LSU, started 10 games last season and has 47 career starts.
Pocic played 20 snaps in the Browns' 24-13 win over the Jaguars.
"Ethan went in there and did a really nice job," Stefanski said. "He's been here since April, and we went out and got him for a reason. We're excited about what he did last night.
"He's a big center. He's got really good size and has played a lot of football in his career. For us, it's getting him good exposure for what we do. I think he's done a nice job with (offensive line) coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) coach (Scott) Peters in understanding out techniques."