Cleveland Browns tight end Evan Moore (89) avoids Detroit Lions linebacker Ashlee Palmer on a second-quarter pass reception in a preseason NFL football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Here's what you need to know about the 17th practice of Browns training camp:
Dominant return: Tight end Evan Moore returned to practice today after suffering a concussion Friday in a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Moore suffered the concussion when he caught a pass in the second quarter and smacked helmets with Lions safety Erik Coleman. "It was minor," Moore said of the concussion. "It was more precautionary than anything. It's the preseason, so we want to make sure we're taking all the precautions to be safe and all that. But I'm 100 percent fine, and there's no issue at all." The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Moore appeared to be back to full strength this morning. He dominated in red-zone drills, capitalizing on his height by catching a few passes in the end zone. "He's such a big target, and I think it's only natural to assume that we'll throw him the ball," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. ... "I like what he brings to the table in terms of a target down there (in the red zone)." In addition to Moore, rookie cornerback Buster Skrine (unspecified pulled muscle) and free safety Brett Johnson (thigh bruise) returned to practice today after missing time Monday.
Plan for "dress rehearsal": Shurmur said he's aiming to play the starters for at least a half in Thursday's exhibition game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Shurmur reiterated that running back Montario Hardesty, who tore the ACL in his left knee last September, will play Thursday. Will Shurmur enter the game with a set number of snaps in which Hardesty will play? "Not really," Shurmur said. "I think we'll feel it out, but he'll probably appear in the first half at some point."
Injury updates: Running back Peyton Hillis missed practice because of a sore back, but Shurmur said he's assuming Hillis will play Thursday. In addition to Hillis, running back Brandon Jackson (toe), wide receivers Josh Cribbs (hamstring) and Mohamed Massaquoi (left foot), left guard Eric Steinbach (back), strong safety T.J. Ward (hamstring), free safety Usama Young (hamstring), weakside linebacker Chris Gocong (stinger), linebacker Steven Octavien (unspecified), wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (finger surgery), strong safety Eric Hagg (left knee surgery) and defensive end Jabari Fletcher (right knee) were also sidelined.
Big deal: Pro Bowl offensive lineman Joe Thomas said he signed a seven-year contract extension worth about $84 million because he's excited about the direction in which the franchise appears to be heading. "Certainly a couple years ago there was a lot of questions about the future of this franchise," Thomas said. "There was a lot instability, not only in the front office, but the coaching staff, the players. But I think right now, the vision that everybody has, the way that everybody's kind of on the same page, rowing the boat in the same direction, there's nothing but success in the future here. I wouldn't stay here if I didn't those things moving forward."
Practice highlights and lowlights: Owner Randy Lerner and President Mike Holmgren rolled onto the practice field in a golf cart. ... In one-on-one passing drills, quarterback Colt McCoy completed a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Robiskie, who beat undrafted rookie cornerback James Dockery in coverage. ... Wide receiver Rod Windsor used one hand to grab a pass from quarterback Seneca Wallace while cornerback Ramzee Robinson, who played nickel back for the first-team defense, had tight coverage on him. ... Rookie Jason Pinkston continued to fill Steinbach's spot at left guard with the first-team offense. ... Robiskie, Jordan Norwood and rookie Greg Little served as the wide receivers for the first unit. ... In 11-on-11 drills in the red zone, Moore made a nice over the shoulder catch on a pass thrown by Wallace. ... Cornerback Sheldon Brown cut in front of Robiskie to intercept a pass from McCoy in the front corner of the end zone. ... Wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty made an impressive touchdown catch over cornerback Darian Hagan on a pass from Wallace. ... Strong safety Ray Ventrone broke up a pass from McCoy to Moore. ... Free safety Mike Adams and Moore came down with a pass from McCoy in the back corner of the end zone. They wrestled for the ball for about 10 seconds, and Adams eventually emerged with it. ... Moore exacted revenge later during a seven-on-seven session, when he made a one-handed catch over Adams in the same corner of the end zone. ... Cornerback Coye Francies picked off a pass from Wallace.