The Cleveland Browns have released cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu after one season, in which he was unable to play due to a severe knee injury suffered in college.
The Browns confirmed Ekpre-Olomu's release, saying it was due to a "non-football injury," on their official website. Rand Getlin of NFL Network reported Ekpre-Olomu is "[100 percent] healthy and feels certain he'll be playing football at a high level this year."
Many regarded Ekpre-Olomu as one of the nation's top cornerback prospects during his senior season at Oregon in 2014.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports projected Ekpre-Olomu to be a top-15 pick in his initial mock draft in August 2014, calling him "instinctive, physical and a proven standout in a passing conference."
However, as Oregon was preparing to take on Florida State in the Rose Bowl, Ekpre-Olomu tore his ACL during a practice with the team. He was unable to participate in any pre-draft workouts as a result of the injury, causing him to fall to the seventh round, where the Browns took a flyer on him with the 241st pick.
After the Browns drafted him, Ekpre-Olomu told reporters during a conference call his knee injury was worse than what had been reported because it also included a dislocated knee, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
Yeah, I think definitely teams were concerned and thinking that I wouldn't be able to play or I wouldn't be able to play at the level that I wanted to play. But it really only takes one team and I'm excited to be playing for the Browns and I'm excited that they gave me the opportunity to prove (myself) and they have the faith in me that I'm going to be back to 100% and healthy.
Unfortunately, Ekpre-Olomu never got a chance to prove himself in Cleveland. Former Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced last July the defensive back would likely have to sit out the 2015 season, which wound up being the case.
Cabot added the problem for Ekpre-Olomu is the knee injury wasn't "healing fast enough." Another factor working against the 22-year-old is that Cleveland has brought in a new coaching and front office group to turn the franchise around.
There may come a time down the line in which Ekpre-Olomu is at least given a tryout with an NFL team, but his knee has to cooperate in order for that to happen. It's a sad situation for the young man right now, as he seeks to find ways to keep his dreams of being a professional football player alive.