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Browns wide receiver and standout returner Travis Benjamin suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament Sunday while returning a punt during the third quarter of a 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, coach Rob Chudzinski said today during a news conference.
Benjamin will undergo surgery, which has yet to be scheduled, Chudzinski said.
Benjamin, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, ranks sixth in the NFL with an average of 11.7 yards per punt return, and he ran a punt back 79 yards for a touchdown Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He also returned three kickoffs for an average of 48.7 yards. He returned a kickoff 86 yards Oct. 20 against the Green Bay Packers. Benjamin tallied five catches for 105 yards and one rush for 45 yards this season.
“You saw the growth as a player, as a receiver as well as the obvious that you see as a returner on the punt returns and then some on the kickoff returns as well,” Chudzinski said. “It’s a tough loss for us, but we’ll have some guys step up.”
Benjamin suffered the injury with 2:20 left in the third quarter when Chiefs cornerback Ron Parker tripped him up during a 9-yard return. Benjamin walked off the field with medical personnel, who examined his right knee on the sideline. He did not return to the game.
Chudzinski said wide receiver Davone Bess will serve as the team’s primary punt returner with Benjamin out. Cornerback Joe Haden is also an option, Chudzinski said.