Browns defensive end Robaire Smith could be out for the season with a back injury, Browns coach Eric Mangini confirmed Monday afternoon during a news conference. Smith, one of Cleveland's defensive captains, did not practice this past week and was inactive for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When asked if Smith's injury could keep him out of the lineup on a long-term basis, Mangini said, "Yes." When asked if Smith could be placed on injured reserve, meaning he would be out for the season, Mangini said, "It's possible."
After the game Sunday, Brian Schaefering, Smith's replacement, spoke as if Smith won't be returning to action this season.
''I know I've got some big shoes to fill, filling in for Robaire,'' Schaefering said. ''Not just this week, but every week the rest of the season. He's one of our leaders on the field and off.''
On Monday, Smith's locker did not contain a helmet. Helmets were also missing from the lockers of defensive lineman Titus Adams, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty, tight end Greg Estandia and running back Montario Hardesty, all of whom are on IR.