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Cleveland Browns release veteran LB Christian Kirksey

Cleveland Browns release veteran LB Christian Kirksey
Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey played only two games last season because of a torn pectoral muscle. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

March 10 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Browns released veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey after six seasons, the team announced Tuesday.

League sources told ESPN that Cleveland attempted to renegotiate Kirksey's contract but opted to cut him after the sides couldn't reach an agreement.

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Kirksey was scheduled to make $7.75 million in base salary this season and $8.25 million in 2021, according to Spotrac. After releasing the linebacker, the Browns will save about $6.58 million in salary cap space this off-season.

"Christian Kirksey has been a vital member of our organization for the last six seasons because of his contributions on and off the field," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement Tuesday. "He has been a strong leader both in our locker room and in the Cleveland community.

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"These are difficult decisions and, in Christian's case, more challenging because of how well he has represented our team. We thank him for his dedication and wish him nothing but the best in the next phase of his career."

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Kirksey played only two games last season before being placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle that he sustained in Week 2 against the New York Jets. Rookie linebacker Mack Wilson started in place of Kirksey for the Browns' final 14 regular-season games.

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The Browns selected Kirksey in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Iowa. He was a five-year starter for the team headed into last season, recording 484 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions and 16 passes defensed across six seasons.

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