Almost every day I spend covering the Browns at team headquarters, FirstEnergy Stadium or on the road, there are too many news items, notes and observations to fit into the newspaper. So this blog is designed to feature the nuggets that don't appear in print. They're like deleted scenes on a Blu-ray/DVD or the youth football players who ride the pine during the game but get to shine afterward in an extra session often called "The Fifth Quarter."
Here are some leftovers from the fifth practice of organized team activities held Wednesday in Berea.
Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas has taken practices off for the past three years. They're known as "veteran days off," and the intent is for Thomas to be able to preserve his health for regular-season games. He takes practices off in the spring, summer and fall. He watched Wednesday's practice on the field without participating. He did the same last Wednesday when practice was open to the media.
"There's only so many sand grains left in my hourglass, and we don't want to tip the hourglass over here in the spring," Thomas said. "We want to save some of those sand grains for Sundays in the fall."To read more or comment...
The Browns have hired St. Ignatius football coach Chuck Kyle as their youth football adviser.
The team announced the move Wednesday in the following news release:
The Browns have named St. Ignatius Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle youth football advisor, a recently created position that will further incorporate the renowned coach’s experience and expertise into the team’s long-standing dedication to youth and high school football in Ohio.
Kyle, who will remain on the St. Ignatius faculty and continue to lead the Wildcats football team and students, will expand his involvement with the Browns’ youth and high school football initiatives as part of the team’s mission to provide opportunities for young athletes to play football and enhance safety for all participants and coaches.
Director of community relations Jenner Tekancic will welcome Kyle into his new role during tomorrow’s 2 p.m. groundbreaking event at Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Roye Kidd Field.To read more or comment...
The Browns are toying with the idea of letting rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman return punts or kickoffs.
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor explained Coleman is a candidate to fill the roles despite his status as a first-round draft pick (No. 15 overall). Some coaches shy away from using top selections on special teams, but Tabor spoke as if he doesn't expect coach Hue Jackson's staff to operate that way.
"I'll be honest with you, I never think of them as first-round draft picks," Tabor said Wednesday before the fifth practice of organized team activities. "If that's the best option and player that you have, that's what you want to do. If it's going to help you win, that's what we want to do. I don't get caught up in where a guy's [drafted] just from this standpoint: [Wide receiver] Antonio Brown for the [Pittsburgh] Steelers might be regarded as one of the best players in the NFL, and he's their punt returner."
Coleman happens to consider Brown his idol. Coleman returned 25 kickoffs for 651 yards (26 average) and one touchdown in his three seasons at Baylor. He had 17 of those returns for 483 yards (28.4 average) and a touchdown during his freshman season. He had just three punt returns for 9 yards, all of which occurred last season.To read more or comment...
The Browns signed undrafted rookie wide receiver David Richards on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Richards signed with the Atlanta Falcons on May 5 but was waived two days later.
In 48 games with the University of Arizona, Richards had 110 receptions for 1,205 yards and 11 touchdowns.
No position embodies the youth movement of the Browns more than receiver. The team now has six rookie receivers, four drafted and two undrafted, on its roster.To read more or comment...
Head coach Hue Jackson showed in last week's OTAs that he's bringing a new attitude to the Cleveland Browns.
On this week's Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com podcast with beat writer Nate Ulrich, we discuss Jackson's approach to the team. Given Cleveland's recent history of coaching turnover, Jackson's outlook could be just what the team needs.
The media also heard from veteran cornerback Joe Haden, who is rehabbing following offseason ankle surgery. Haden has vowed to play every game this season, but is just that good enough for the Browns?To read more or comment...
Click here for an updated version of this story: Former Browns players remember Kent Roosevelt grad Tom DeLeone as tough leader of Kardiac Kids, lovable character off field
Former Browns center Tom DeLeone died early Sunday morning, the team confirmed through a spokesman.
DeLeone, a two-time Pro Bowler who played for the Browns during the Kardiac Kids era, was 65. He had been battling brain cancer.
DeLeone grew up in Kent. He attended Kent Roosevelt High School and Ohio State University.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the fifth round (No. 106 overall) in 1972. He played for the Browns from 1974-84, earning Pro Bowl nods in 1979 and 1980.To read more or comment...
The Browns will need to turn elsewhere to find competition for Travis Coons because fellow kicker Jaden Oberkrom retired two days after the organization claimed him off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Browns announced Friday they placed Oberkrom, an undrafted rookie from TCU, on the reserve/retired list and signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Dennis Parks.
Coons' tendency to kick the ball low -- four of his field goals were blocked last year -- led the Browns to search for an upgrade at the position this offseason. They signed Brad Craddock two weeks ago as an undrafted free agent from Maryland and waived him Wednesday when they claimed Oberkrom. They also tried out three kickers last week during their rookie minicamp but have yet to sign any of them.
The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Parks signed with the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago as an undrafted free agent from Rice. He was cut three days later. In 46 collegiate games, Parks compiled 97 receptions for 1,507 yards and eight touchdowns.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Hue Jackson met with reporters Wednesday after the second practice of organized team activites. Below is a transcript from the news conference.
Opening statement: “It was a good day today, fresh off of coming off of yesterday where we did something a little different for the first time of my career. We kind of split the teams [yesterday] and made sure we got more reps and today brought them back together as one group. I think it was really a good way to practice on Tuesday so guys could get more reps and today to bring them back together. I think it was kind of a shock to the system on Tuesday. Today, we wound them back down, and the guys have responded. They’ve done a tremendous job. It’s just so exciting to get the players all out there on the field and practicing and practicing together and getting a feel for what your team looks like and what your team potentially could be in certain spots and places. I think we’ve had two good days. We have another day to finish off as the start of Phase 3. I think the guys are working hard, and that’s what you want. The guys have done everything I’ve asked. We’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we don’t need to be right now. We need to work at it and pay attention to detail and be accountable to each other and make sure guys are doing the right things and coach them the way we know we have to in order to get them to where we need to get them to be. I think our guys understand there’s a tall challenge ahead. We’re starting at the bottom, and we’re going to climb our way to the top. We’re just going to keep putting our head down and keep grinding through.”
On if there is an assistant coach responsible for recharging senior offensive assistant Al Saunders every day: “No, that’s just kind of who Al is (laughter). He’s all the way. Every practice that’s who Al Saunders is, and our players, our receivers, you can see that there are some guys in that group that are really growing and getting better. I think it’s because of his tutelage and his ability to relate and get guys to play hard and understand what they need to do. I think you see some guys emerging and getting better every day in every practice. That’s good.”
On if QB Robert Griffin III has accuracy issues: “No, RGIII doesn’t have any accuracy issues. He doesn’t. The defense sometimes is in the right spot. As we play in a no-huddle offense, sometimes we say things and the team knows exactly where the ball is going. You hear it enough. No, I don’t get that feeling. Can we do some things better? Yes, he can. I think we all can. Every quarterback can, but I don’t think he has accuracy problems.”
On some of the things that he was trying to instruct Griffin on out at practice: “All that is just communication. That’s learning. A lot these guys haven’t played in this offense that we as a staff has put together. We’re learning. This is Day 2 of the OTA program. We have a long way to go. There are still a lot of new and foreign words to our guys. They will pick them up as they go. It’s how you communicate things. All of the quarterbacks today, and I think our whole offensive unit, it’s different for them. We’ll get them to where they need to be, but again, for Day 2 of putting in as much stuff as we’ve put in on these guys, I think they’ve done a really good job.”To read more or comment...
The Browns waived undrafted rookie kicker Brad Craddock on Wednesday and claimed undrafted rookie kicker Jaden Oberkrom off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Oberkrom made 79 of 100 field goals and 214 of 216 extra-point kicks during his four seasons at TCU.
Last season he converted 21 of 25 field goals, including all three from 50 yards or longer. He was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in each of the past two years.
Travis Coons' tendency to kick the ball low -- four of his field goals were blocked last season -- sparked the Browns' search for an upgrade at the position.To read more or comment...
Cleveland Browns rookie minicamp took place over the weekend, and with 14 players taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, there was plenty to see.
Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich was in attendance, and on this week's podcast he gives his first impressions of the team's rookies. One of the headline players from the weekend was first-round pick Corey Coleman. The wide receiver got a lot of attention, and not just because he was the team's first pick in the draft.To read more or comment...