Browns defensive end Marcus Benard has been lost for the season with a broken hand sustained when he crashed his three-wheel motorcycle.
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The Browns placed Benard, their leader in sacks last season, on the reserve non-football injury list Wednesday, ending his season after just four games.
Team spokesman Neal Gulkis said Benard will spend Wednesday night at the Cleveland Clinic, his third night in the hospital since wrecking his motorcycle shortly after the team completed its first workout following a bye week. Brooklyn Police estimated Benard was thrown nearly 80 yards after smashing his Can-Am Spyder motorcycle into a guardrail.
Benard, who was briefly hospitalized last November after fainting in the locker room, likely sustained other injuries in the crash. However, the Browns are prohibited from disclosing anything about his condition because it took place off the field and he is protected by privacy laws.
Coach Pat Shurmur, who spoke with Benard, said he was not aware the 26-year-old rode a motorcycle. Shurmur said he has warned his players about their off-the-field conduct.
”I have addressed the team on numerous occasions,” he said. ”We want and I want our players to avoid any and all risky behavior. I think it’s obvious what some of that may be. It’s been addressed. Obviously, when something happens you try to reinforce that shouldn’t be something that the players are involved with.”
Shurmur said he was thankful Benard was not more seriously injured, and said getting a phone call about a player being hurt was like learning that his child was injured.
Shurmur believes Benard has a future with the Browns.
”I’m hoping he’ll come back healthy and ready to go,” Shurmur said.
Benard was charged with driving with a suspended license and reckless operation in the one-vehicle crash. He has a court date scheduled for Oct. 18. A witness told police Benard was driving at ”a high rate of speed” and crossed four lanes of traffic before smashing into the guardrail on Interstate-71.
Benard had 7-1/2 sacks last season, one year after he came off the practice squad as a rookie to record 3-1/2 sacks in six games.
Benard may have violated a clause in his contract prohibiting him from riding a motorcycle during the season, and the Browns could choose to withhold some of his $525,000 salary.
To take Benard’s roster spot, the Browns signed defensive lineman Auston English from the practice squad. Also, the Browns signed rookie defensive lineman Kiante Tripp to the practice squad. He was with Atlanta during training camp.