BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Cleveland’s Gary Baxter tore patellar tendons in both knees while trying to break up a pass in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Denver, a devastating injury for the cornerback and another big loss for the Browns.

Baxter will have surgery on Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic to repair both knees, coach Romeo Crennel said during his Monday news conference. Crennel, who has been coaching for more than 35 years, said he has never seen an injury like Baxter’s.

Crennel estimated that Baxter would be sidelined for at least one year.

Baxter missed 11 games last season with a torn chest muscle.

and three games earlier this year with a similar injury, was backpedalling when he planted near the 5-yard line and tried to leap to knock down a pass intended for Javon Walker.

Baxter’s legs buckled and he dropped to the ground. He immediately grabbed his left knee and it was believed that was his only injury. Baxter was lifted onto a cart and driven to the locker room.

Crennel said the 27-year-old Baxter told the team he intends to return from the injuries.

“He wants to come back,” Crennel said.

Baxter is the second Browns player to blow his patellar since July. On the first 11-on-11 play of training camp, center LeCharles Bentley, the club’s top free agent signing, tore his left patellar tendon and was lost for the season.

Baxter signed a five-year, $30 million contract – including a $10 million signing bonus – as a free agent with Cleveland before the 2005 season. He spent four seasons with Baltimore before joining the Browns.

He didn’t have injury problems until coming to Cleveland. In three years at Baylor, he missed only one game with a hamstring injury. While he was with the Ravens, Baxter played in 48 consecutive games.

AP-ES-10-23-06 1418EDT

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