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Help Wanted: Punters….




The last thing you’d think the Browns would need this year was a punter.

Think again.

They are trying out punters Wednesday to find a replacement for Reggie Hodges, who is out for the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon during Tuesday’s practice. Hodges was the only punter in camp.

The market for veteran punters is very thin after flurry of activity last week saw the signings of Daniel Sepulveda (Pittsburgh), Sav Rocca (Washington), Brad Maynard (Houston) and Matt Turk (Jacksonville). Bay Village native Dave Zastudil, who preceded Hodges as the Browns’ punter the previous four years, suffered a slight muscle pull in a tryout with Houston and is currently unavailable.

Coach Pat Shurmur indicated the team may have to bring in an untested rookie punter via tryout and then wait for the veteran market to reopen before settling on a replacement for Hodges.

“We’re going to look for the best possible replacement that we can and we’re going to quickly address that,” Shurmur said after Tuesday afternoon’s walk-through. “We’ll have some guys in [Wednesday] and try to find the best possible guy we can find at this time, and then we’re going to keep searching for the guy that’s going to be our punter.”

One of those trying out will be Rob Long, whose senior season at Syracuse ended prematurely when he was treated for brain cancer. Long had brain surgery in December and received radiation and chemotherapy for six weeks in January and February. His treatments ended March 2.

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