CLEVELAND (AP) - Just over a month since losing punter Reggie Hodges to a season-ending injury, the Cleveland Browns are already on his second replacement.
One game, three punters.
The Browns signed 14-year veteran punter Brad Maynard on Tuesday and placed Richmond McGee on injured reserve, two days after he injured his back during pregame warmups before his NFL debut.
Maynard spent the past 10 seasons with the Chicago Bears, the last three working with Browns first-year special teams coach Chris Tabor. The 37-year-old Maynard was released by the Bears in July and spent the exhibition season with Houston before the Texans waived him on Sept. 3.
The Browns were in an emergency situation after McGee herniated a disk in his back while kicking prior to Sunday’s season opener against Cincinnati.
McGee’s agent David Canter said the 28-year-old’s back was so bad during the game that he kicked without some feeling in his legs. McGee had a major role in the Browns’ 27-17 loss, averaging just 36 yards on eight punts. He shanked his first punt 20 yards, later had kicks of 28 and 30 and was booed by Browns fans.
McGee said nothing about his back injury after the game, and neither did Browns coach Pat Shurmur. On Monday, Shurmur indicated the Browns were "evaluating" McGee’s position but didn’t mention any injury. It’s not clear if McGee told the Browns he was hurt before or during the opener.
The Browns were forced to sign McGee in August after Hodges, one of the AFC’s best punters last season, tore his Achilles during practice.
Canter said McGee "felt a twinge" while he was warming up on the field Sunday but decided to play.
"He told me it got to the point during the game where he couldn’t even feel his legs," Canter said. "I knew something was wrong, either he was hurt or he had forgotten how to kick. I felt bad for him because the fans were on him badly, so I called him after the game and he told me what happened."
Canter said McGee does not need surgery, but will seek a second opinion.
Maynard brings the Browns experience as a punter and he’s also a dependable holder for Phil Dawson on extra points and field-goal attempts.
Maynard, drafted by the New York Giants in 1997, has averaged 41.9 yards per punt in his career. However his 40.1-yard average on 83 punts last season ranked him 32nd in the league, and his net average of 35.2 was 29th overall.
Maynard has appeared in 223 career regular season games. In 2008, he led the league with 40 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Notes: The Browns announced they will induct former linebacker Vince Costello (1957-66) and center Tom DeLeone (1974-84) into the team’s Legends club. Costello and DeLeone will be honored during a halftime of the Sept. 25 home game against Miami. The team created the Legends program in 2001 to honor former players annually who have made a major impact on the organization. Costello was on Cleveland’s 1964 title team. DeLeone was selected to two Pro Bowls and blocked for six 1,000-yard rushers.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.