Next Level Watch: Broken leg ends Mack’s season

Cleveland Browns All-Pro center Alex Mack, an alum of San Marcos High School, was placed on Injured Reserve on Friday, ending his season after he broke his fibula in last week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mack had started every game for the Browns since his rookie year in 2009, a streak of 85-consecutive games. This weekend’s game against Jacksonville will be Mack’s first game missed as a professional.

He graduated from San Marcos in 2005 and played collegiately at Cal before being drafted by the Browns.

“He’s a tough guy to replace,” Browns left tackle Joe Thomas told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “There’s no more Alex Macks in the NFL. When you’re the best center, it’s going to be a step down no matter who’s coming in to replace you.

“But it’s the way the NFL is. Guys get hurt. Some of your best players get hurt and the next man has to step in and we don’t expect any dropoff.”

Following surgery on Thursday in North Carolina, Mack is expected to be ready to start the 2015 season.

James McCann, Detroit Tigers — McCann made his Major-League debut in September and played nine regular-season games for the Tigers, going 3-for-12 with a double and two runs scored. He started two games, in one of which he went 2-for-5 with two runs scored in a 10-2 Tigers win over Kansas City. McCann caught former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in the game and batted eighth in the lineup.

Chris Valaika, Chicago Cubs – The former Gaucho played in a career-high 44 major league games this summer in his fourth year of playing in the big leagues. Valaika batted .231 in 121 at-bats.

Tim Gleeson, Rutgers Football – The Australian native made it to New Jersey via Santa Barbara City College and is the starting punter for the Scarlett Knights this season. Gleeson kicked a season-long 57-yard punt in Rutgers’ last game, a 26-24 over Michigan. The Scarlett Knights are off to a 5-1 start to their season.

Gleeson played one year at Wyoming before becoming an All-State player at SBCC last season. The junior has punted 16 times for Rutgers with an average of 42.3 yards. He has three kicks over 50 yards already this season.


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