BEREA, Ohio — On the first day back from their bye week, the Cleveland Browns suffered an injury that could have been so much worse.
Defensive end Marcus Benard broke his arm in a motorcycle accident Monday shortly after the team’s practice ended.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Benard will be transferred to Cleveland Clinic to undergo more tests and evaluation. The 26-year-old Benard crashed his motorcycle on Interstate-71 about 90 minutes after the Browns wrapped up their first practice in preparation for Sunday’s game in Oakland.
Benard, a backup who has played in all four games this season, will likely miss significant time and may have to go on injured reserve. But it appears he was lucky to avoid a more serious injury.
Police are still investigating Benard’s crash. It’s not yet known if any other vehicles were involved in the accident.
As they returned from a week of rest and review, the Browns (2-2) practiced without two starters: top cornerback Joe Haden and Pro Bowl center Alex Mack.
Haden, who has played at a Pro Bowl level through four games, sprained his left knee last week against Tennessee. Shurmur said the team decided to have Haden stay inside to rehab his injury. Mack was on the field with his teammates but only as a spectator after undergoing an appendectomy last week.
Shurmur wouldn’t speculate if Haden or Mack would be able to play this week.
“It’s too early to tell,” he said.
Losing Haden or Mack for any period of time would be a major blow to the Browns. They are two of Cleveland’s best and most indispensable players.
Backup Steve Vallos filled in for Mack with Cleveland’s first-team offense. Nickel back Dimitri Patterson was in Haden’s corner spot opposite Sheldon Brown.
Benard was initially taken to MetroHealth Medical Center following his crash. He was able to speak on the phone with trainer Joe Sheehan, who joined him at the hospital.
Benard overcame long odds to make it to the NFL. He was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He spent the first nine weeks of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster. In a December game, he sacked Ben Roethlisberger twice as Cleveland upset Pittsburgh.
Last year, Benard led the Browns with 7½ sacks. In November, he was briefly hospitalized after fainting in the locker room before a practice. Benard underwent tests, which ruled out any heart problems or other major medical conditions. He later said the episode was related to stress caused by the impending birth of his son.
Unfortunately, the Browns have a history with motorcycle accidents during the season.
In 2004, tight end Kellen Winslow sustained near-fatal injuries when he crashed his motorcycle while doing tricks in a parking lot near his home.