CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor’s season could be in jeopardy after he injured a chest muscle lifting weights on Thursday.
The team said the massive Taylor, Cleveland’s first-round draft pick in 2011, hurt his left pectoral muscle while working out during the team’s offseason conditioning program. The Browns said Taylor will be further evaluated on Monday to determine a course of treatment.
It is not yet known if Taylor tore the muscle or how long he could be sidelined. Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson missed most of the 2009 and 2010 seasons with torn pectoral muscles, but returned after two surgeries to lead the team in tackles this past season.
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Taylor’s agent, Peter Schaffer, said surgery is possible.
“Either he will be fine and play well or he will correct the problem and be fine and play well,” Schaffer said in an email. “Those are the only two options we are looking at or thinking about.”
The 6-foot-3, 335-pound Taylor was selected by the Browns with the No. 21 overall pick in 2011. He started all 16 games as a rookie and finished with 59 tackles and four sacks. Primarily a run stopper, Taylor and fellow rookie Jabaal Sheard vastly improved Cleveland’s defensive front.
The Browns were criticized by some fans and draft experts for taking Cincinnati defensive tackle John Hughes in the third round last month. But if Taylor is out for any significant time, Hughes could be thrust into the starting lineup or get even more playing time in the tackle rotation with veterans Brian Schaefering, Scott Paxson and fellow rookie Billy Winn, a sixth-round pick from Boise State.
Hughes reported to Berea on Thursday for a physical with the team’s other rookies, who will participate in a three-day minicamp this weekend.