DE Olivier Vernon has been ruled out for the postseason after suffering an Achilles injury in Sunday's win over the Steelers.
Vernon ruptured his Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of the Browns' 24-22 win and will undergo surgery. The veteran defensive end collected his ninth sack of the season in the first half, giving him the second-best total of his career.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed for OV," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He was playing at a high level and we'll miss his leadership."
Without Vernon, the Browns will rely even more on Adrian Clayborn and Porter Gustin. Clayborn played more than half of the snaps Sunday as a third pass rusher while Gustin increased his workload following Vernon's injury.
Clayborn has some of the most extensive playoff experience on the Browns' roster, including a Super Bowl win with the Patriots.
"Those guys are important in January," Stefanski said. "Adrian's a leader of this football team and he doesn't have to say much. It's how he prepares and how he goes about his business. He's been there, he's done that. It's great for our players to see a guy that even though he has that experience, he comes in every day ready to work."