Anthony Walker Jr. signs one-year deal to return to Cleveland Browns

·2 min read
Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. walks the sideline during the NFL football team's football training camp in Berea on Tuesday.
Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. walks the sideline during the NFL football team's football training camp in Berea on Tuesday.

The Browns are continuing to run it back with their linebacking corps. This time, they're bringing the leader of the group back.

Anthony Walker Jr.'s one-year deal to return to the Browns was officially announced by the team on Wednesday. The deal was first reported on March 22.

"I love the guy," coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday while attending the NFL's annual meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. "Love everything about him. Love what he brings to our team. He was playing really good football before he was injured last season, unfortunately. But he's a good football player. He's awesome in the locker room. He's a son of a coach. When he's done playing 10 years from now, I'm going to try to convince him to coach. He's just rock solid."

Walker initially made mention of the deal himself on Twitter that day. He tweeted a picture of himself from during a Browns game with the caption, "Nobody Cares; WORK Harder!! #JAG"

Walker joins Sione Takitaki and Jordan Kunaszyk as linebackers to re-sign with the Browns after initially testing free agency. The return of Walker, who was the heart and soul of the defense the last two seasons, is certainly the biggest.

The veteran linebacker showed how valuable he was on and off the field last season after he sustained a season-ending torn quad tendon in a Week 3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next week, the Browns defense began what turned into a season-long struggle to stop the run when they allowed more than 200 rushing yards in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Walker's injury was the first of five at the position, essentially wiping out the Browns' original starting linebacking corps. Jacob Phillips (torn pectoral muscle), Takitaki (torn ACL), Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (foot) and Kunaszyk (hand) also ended up with season-ending injuries at the position.

All five, though, will be back with the Browns this season.

Walker was originally signed by the Browns prior to the 2021 season after four years with the Indianapolis Colts. The middle linebacker immediately showed off his value that season with 113 combined tackles in 13 games, including 69 solo stops, two tackles for loss, a sack and two passes defensed.

Over two-and-a-half games last season, Walker had 13 combined tackles, seven solo stops, four tackles for loss and two passes defensed.

For his career, the former Northwestern University standout has played in 73 career games. He has 469 combined tackles, 305 solo stops, 25 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and three interceptions.

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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Anthony Walker Jr. coming back to Browns on one-year deal