When the Cleveland Browns take on the rival Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, they will be without one of their top receiving threats.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Browns starting tight end Austin Hooper underwent surgery for appendicitis today. As a result, he is officially out for Sunday's tilt with the Bengals.
But it might not be a one-weekend absence. Rapoport said there's "a chance" he misses next weekend's game against the Las Vegas Raiders too.
Austin Hooper has started every game for the Browns this season. He is their third leading receiver with 22 receptions for 205 yards and a touchdown.
With Hooper out, rookie Harrison Bryant will likely get a lot more attention from QB Baker Mayfield.
The Browns signed Hooper to a four-year, $44 million contract this past summer following back-to-back Pro Bowl years with the Atlanta Falcons.
From 2016 to 2019, Hooper appeared in 59 games and recorded 214 catches for 2,244 yards and 16 touchdowns. He became more and more productive for the Falcons in each passing year.
The Browns hoped that Hooper would be able to give them even more weapons in a receiving corps that already includes Pro Bowlers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Thus far, Hooper has been as advertised.
Cleveland will probably miss their star tight end in this important game against the Bengals.
Will we see Austin Hooper back for next week's game against the Raiders, or after the bye?