A key piece of the Ole Miss offense was lost for the season because of a neck injury, and it’s hit teammate A.J. Brown hard.

DK Metcalf’s absence was tough for Brown to explain this week in talking with reporters.

“I don’t even want to get emotional, honestly,” he said. “Too many players suffer that and honestly, he doesn’t deserve it, especially everything he’s been through, and how hard he worked this offseason, how we worked this offseason.

Coach Matt Luke announced the news on Monday, and added that the injury was worse than originally thought. Metcalf had 26 catches for 569 yards and five touchdowns in seven games this season. In his three-year career at Ole Miss, Metcalf has 67 catches for 1,228 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Braylon Sanders is among the players expected to fill the void left by Metcalf’s absence. Brown calls the sophomore a sleeper.

“He showed you clearly what he could do,” Brown said.

He shrugged his shoulders when asked if opponents would defend him differently without Metcalf in the lineup.

“It don’t matter,” he said. “If they do, then Elijah (Moore) will go off, or somebody else will go off.”

The No. 1-ranked passing offense in the SEC will experience a shift in who’s making plays, but the Rebels still appear to have capable younger players ready to step in to fill Metcalf’s void.