The Browns have placed tight end Alex Smith and backup middle linebacker Titus Brown on injured reserve, the team announced today. They signed tight end Dan Gronkowski and promoted linebacker Brian Smith from the practice squad to the active roster to fill the spots left by Alex Smith and Brown.
Alex Smith, who's pictured below, suffered a sprained shoulder Sunday in the first quarter Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He left the game but returned and played through the injury. Shurmur said Alex Smith won't need surgery at this point. Alex Smith played in 14 games and finished the season with 14 catches for 131 yards and one touchdown.
Brown hurt his right knee Sunday and left the game with about six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. He left University of Phoenix Stadium on crutches. Shurmur said Brown will need surgery. Brown played in 10 games this season, compiling two tackles and a sack on defense, plus three tackles on special teams.
Gronkowski, whom the Detroit Lions drafted in the seventh round (255th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft, has appeared in 19 career games with five starts. He has recorded nine receptions for 69 yards. Gronkowski was traded to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 4, 2010. He appeared in 12 games with the Broncos last season, was waived on Sept. 7, and was later signed by the New England Patriots. In two stints with the Patriots this season, Gronkowski appeared in five games with one start. He was waived on Nov. 8. He is the brother of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Indianapolis Colts fullback Chris Gronkowski.
Brian Smith was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent from the University of Notre Dame on July 30. He appeared in all four preseason games and recorded four tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. He was waived on Sept. 3, and has spent the past three weeks on the Browns’ practice squad after re-joining the team on Nov. 29.
The Browns also signed wide receiver Torrey Grissett and linebacker Craig Robertson to the practice squad.