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Browns punter Reggie Hodges out for season with torn Achilles tendon

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 2, 2011
Cleveland Browns punter Reggie Hodges is carted off the field after an injury to his left leg during practice at NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Berea, Ohio. Hodges, one of the AFC's top punters last season, fell without being touched after catching a snap in the back of the end zone during punting drills. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Browns punter Reggie Hodges is out for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon, the team revealed this afternoon.

Hodges was carted off the practice field this morning after he suffered the injury. He will be scheduled for surgery.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the team will invite punters to try out at the team's facility on Wednesday.

"We haven’t talked about specific names yet," Shurmur said. "We’re just setting up the process here to make sure we get a guy in."

Hodges' injury appeared to be serious right off the bat. He couldn't put weight on his left leg when trainers escorted him into the team's locker-room area.

"It's terrible," Browns long snapper Ryan Pontbriand said after practice. "I couldn't even concentrate for the rest of the period. I don't know what happened."

During punting drills, Hodges caught a snap, planted his left foot and collapsed as he was preparing to kick the ball. Trainers evaluated him as he sat on the ground, and then they carted him away.

Hodges, 29, replaced Dave Zastudil, after Zastudil suffered a season-ending right knee injury in 2009, and has been the team's punter ever since. Hodges played in all 16 games for the Browns last season. He punted 78 times for a 43.9-yard gross average, a net of 39 yards, and had 29 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He also finished third in the NFL with 15 punts inside the 10-yard line.

Last season, the Browns signed Hodges to a two-year contract extension. They don't have another punter on their training camp roster.

"He's very valuable," Pontbriand said. "He's responsible for turning the field over, giving us momentum, pinning them deep. ... That's huge on game day."

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