BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Browns speedy return specialist Travis Benjamin tore a knee ligament Sunday and will miss the remainder of the season. Benjamin sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the 23-17 loss to unbeaten Kansas City.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Benjamin, one of the league's top punt returners, twisted his knee while planting on a return in the third quarter and will need surgery. ''It's a tough loss for us,'' Chudzinski said, ''but we'll have some guys step up.'' The second-year wide receiver has been a major playmaker for the Browns.
Benjamin returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown on Oct. 3, and his 86-yard kickoff return set up a TD for the Browns on Oct. 20 against Green Bay. Benjamin set a team record with 179 yards in returns against the Bills.
A fourth-round draft pick from Miami last year, Benjamin also had five catches for 105 yards and rushed for 45 yards on an end-around. Chudzinski said wide receiver Davone Bess will handle punt return duties.
After replacing Benjamin, Bess had a crucial fumble while trying to catch a punt on the run in the fourth quarter. Chudzinski said starting cornerback Joe Haden is another option to return punts, but he'd prefer not to use one of his best defensive players.
Benjamin is the second Cleveland player to tear his ACL. Quarterback Brian Hoyer recently had surgery to repair his after getting hurt in the first quarter against Buffalo. Chudzinski is hopeful Hoyer will recover in time for spring practices.