Running back Dion Lewis’ first season with the Browns is officially over.
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As expected, the team placed Lewis on season-ending injured reserve Monday with a surgically repaired broken leg.
Lewis fractured his left fibula in an exhibition against Detroit on Aug. 15. He was injured after catching a short pass in the third quarter and being tackled by two Lions linebackers.
Lewis had surgery last week and coach Rob Chudzinski said then that the Browns were likely to put him on season-ending IR. If there was a chance he could return, the Browns could have placed him on a list that would have made him eligible after Week 8.
His loss is a blow to the Browns’ backfield depth. In April, they traded linebacker Emmanuel Acho to Philadelphia in exchange for the versatile Lewis, who had a solid training camp and was expected to play on third down and as a change of pace for starter Trent Richardson.
In two exhibition games, Lewis had 10 carries for 45 yards and seven receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.
It’s possible the Browns may still try to sign another veteran running back because Montario Hardesty is still sidelined after having knee surgery. Brandon Jackson has moved up the depth chart behind Richardson.
Earlier, the Browns released wide receiver Jordan Norwood, who struggled with injuries during his three seasons in Cleveland.
Norwood’s contract was terminated by the Browns, who announced the move shortly after practice started. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Norwood was limited during the preseason by a nagging hamstring injury and the Browns couldn’t wait any longer for him to get completely healthy. He returned to practice last week but didn’t play in Saturday’s exhibition loss at Indianapolis.
Norwood had 13 receptions for 137 yards in two games last season. A four-year starter at Penn State, he had a career-high nine catches for 81 yards on Oct. 7 against the New York Giants, but sustained a foot injury and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
He had 36 career receptions for 405 yards and one touchdown in 16 games — four starts — with the Browns, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He was released and spent one season on Philadelphia’s practice squad before returning to Cleveland.
Norwood’s release could open a roster spot for Josh Cooper, whose future with the Browns was in question.
By releasing five players Monday, the Browns’ roster is at 82. They have to get down to the NFL-mandated, 75-player limit by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Earlier, the team waived defensive end Dave Kruger, the brother of starting linebacker Paul Kruger. Dave Kruger was signed as an undrafted free agent by Cleveland in April. He was slowed during training camp by a concussion.
The Browns also waived defensive back Vernon Kearney, wide receiver Cordell Roberson and linebacker Tommy Smith.