Browns release former Hawkeye LB Christian Kirksey after 6 seasons

FILE - In this May 30, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Christian Kirksey walks off the field after an NFL football organized team activity session at the team's training facility in Berea, Ohio. The Browns on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, released linebacker Christian Kirksey, a veteran who left his mark on the field and throughout the community during his six seasons in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
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CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Browns released veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey after six seasons.

One of the team's leaders, Kirksey was cut after the team couldn't re-work his contract. The Browns will have more salary-cap space in preparation for the start of NFL free agency next week.

Kirksey made 54 starts with Cleveland and appeared in 73 games. But the 27-year-old has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons. He sustained a chest injury last year and played in two games.

The move with Kirksey is surprising because the team is not expected to re-sign linebacker Joe Schobert.