Ouch! This injury really hurts!
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Gary Baxter's first season with the Cleveland Browns has ended painfully and prematurely.
Baxter will miss the club's final 10 games after the cornerback tore a chest muscle during Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions, an injury that typically requires six-to-eight months of rehabilitation.
Baxter, who signed a six-year, $30 million free agent contract in the offseason with Cleveland, had surgery on Monday morning at the Cleveland Clinic. Browns coach Romeo Crennel believes Baxter got hurt in the first quarter.
The 26-year-old missed the first game of the season with a concussion, but Baxter has been the Browns' top defensive back, usually drawing the assignment of covering the opposition's best wide receiver.
"It's a solid blow," safety Brian Russell said. "He's been a leader for this defense and a leader for this team. Everyone will need to step up."
Baxter, who spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, finished the season with 20 tackles and two interceptions.
With Baxter out, Leigh Bodden, who replaced him for the final three quarters on Sunday, might move into the starting lineup. Bodden, one of the club's top special teams players the past two seasons, had been inactive for Cleveland's two previous games.
"He played reasonably well," Crennel said.
Bodden, an undrafted free agent who made Cleveland's roster in 2003, sustained the same injury as Baxter's last season and missed the final eight games.
"I feel bad for him because I know what he's going through," Bodden said. "It's painful."
Bodden was generally pleased with the way he played on Sunday after being rushed into the lineup.
"I played OK," said the 24-year-old, who played at Duquesne. "But I didn't make any plays to help our team win."