By Nate Ulrich
and Marla Ridenour
Beacon Journal sports writers
BEREA: The Browns placed starting right defensive end Desmond Bryant on the reserve/non-football illness list with an irregular heartbeat, meaning his season is finished, the team announced Wednesday.
Bryant will undergo “a minor heart procedure” this week to correct the issue, Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert said. Bryant is expected to make a full recovery and is expected to be able to resume his career, Gilbert said.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Bryant reported the symptoms Monday, a day after he played 47-of-74 snaps and finished a 32-28 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gilbert said. Bryant is not in the hospital and is feeling fine, Gilbert said.
Bryant, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract with the Browns in March after spending the previous four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, left games with heart problems this season and last season.
Bryant exited the Browns’ win over the Buffalo Bills early in the third quarter Oct. 3 because he was experiencing an accelerated heartbeat and shortness of breath. Bryant was taken to the Cleveland Clinic during the game and hospitalized overnight before being released the next day. He also left the Raiders’ game Nov. 4, 2012, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with similar symptoms. In both cases, he played the following week.
Bryant started all 12 games this season and compiled 45 tackles, including 3½ sacks.
The Browns promoted receiver Brian Tyms to the active roster from the practice squad, filling the roster spot vacated by Bryant, released linebacker Justin Staples from the practice squad and signed defensive back T.J. Heath, defensive lineman Cam Henderson and linebacker Jonathan Stewart to the practice squad.
A sprained knee suffered against the Jaguars sent nickel cornerback Chris Owens to injured reserve Tuesday, which will mean more playing time for rookie Leon McFadden. The third-round pick from San Diego State played only on special teams until Nov. 3, when he began playing in the secondary as a reserve.
“McFadden has been playing more and more in recent weeks,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “Going back to training camp, he was injured an awful lot and fell behind. He’s been able to catch up and he’s really earned the opportunities that he’s gotten, and every week he’s gotten more. I feel good about his progress and how he’s come along.”
McFadden said being used as a safety in the dime has helped.
“The more you know the longer you will last in the league, and that’s what they keep saying,” he said. “Being put in different positions and fitting in the scheme, I’m there taking advantage of all opportunities.”
McFadden wouldn’t say if he would play inside or out when three cornerbacks are on the field, but he realizes New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will target him Sunday.
“I’m going to step up to the plate and handle that task,” McFadden said.
Inside linebackers Craig Robertson (sprained right knee) and Tank Carder (sprained shoulder) returned to practice, although both were limited. Robertson was hurt Nov. 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Carder Nov. 24 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Also limited was tight end MarQueis Gray (hamstring).
Of the 16 players the Patriots listed, three didn’t participate — offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle), receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) and linebacker Brandon Spikes (not injury related).
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.