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Denver Broncos inside linebacker tore a pectoral muscle during Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and he will now miss the rest of the 2021 NFL season, coach Vic Fangio confirmed during his Monday press conference.
The Broncos had previously lost their other starting inside linebacker, Josey Jewell, earlier this year (also to a season-ending pec injury). Denver is now extremely thin at the position, with only Justin Strnad, rookie Baron Browning (who suffered a concussion Sunday) and Micah Kiser remaining on the 53-man roster.
Strnad has been starting in the place of Jewell and Kiser started nine games for the Los Angeles Rams last year, so the Broncos do have some experience at the position, but a drop off in performance at ILB should be expected.
Before tearing his pec, Johnson totaled 32 tackles, three pass breakups and two sacks in six games this season. He led the team with 124 tackles in 2020.
Denver has two inside linebackers — Curtis Robinson and Barrington Wade — available on the practice squad. It wouldn’t be surprising to see one (or both) of them added to the active roster before Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.