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Key LB Anthony Walker Jr. will rejoin the Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns are re-signing inside linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. to a one-year contract.

This week, Walker went to the Washington Commanders, but he ultimately decided to go back to Cleveland.

A source told Schefter that while the Browns brought Walker back, they also lost free agent running back D’Ernest Johnson, who signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Johnson only ran four times last season, but in a 2021 start against the Denver Broncos, he ran for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Walker started the Browns’ first three games last season before suffering a quadriceps injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers that ended his season. Without Walker, who likewise settled on edge decisions for the Browns on the field, Cleveland’s run defense capitulated. The next week, the Browns lost to the Atlanta Falcons after allowing 202 rushing yards.

“He is a huge part of our football team,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Walker after the injury, “[with] what he brings to us on the field and off the field.”

Over the course of the year, Cleveland used five different inside linebacker players, with Jacob Phillips, Sione Takitaki, and Deion Jones all suffering season-ending injuries.

The Browns had the 11th-worst run defense expected points added over the past decade, ranking second in the league (-23.11).

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