Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today after he team practiced in preparation for its road game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Here are some of the highlights from Shurmur's news conference:
Shurmur said center Alex Mack, who had an appendectomy on Oct. 3, and cornerback Joe Haden, who sprained his left knee Oct. 2 against the Tennessee Titans, will join the Browns this afternoon on their flight to the Oakland area. Both players are listed as questionable on the team's injury report. Mack returned to practice today and received reps with the first-team offense. In the locker room after practice, Mack said it will be a game-time decision whether he'll face the Raiders. Haden continued to rehabilitate today inside the team's training facility, though his conditioning has not included running, Shurmur said. When asked if Mack is closer than Haden to playing Sunday, Shurmur said, "I think that's a fair thing to say, although both could play, neither could play. I think that's where we're at." Mack said he's feeling better every day. "I'm a guy who likes to practice," Mack said. "I like to be out there, get the reps and see the looks and work on your technique because I think practice is important. To be out there and get some reps is good. In a perfect world, I would not have appendicitis, and I would have the whole day and the whole week." Mack spoke to reporters twice this week, but Haden never surfaced in the locker room to be interviewed, another sign Haden is less likely to play than Mack. If Mack can't play, Steve Vallos will start at center. If Haden can't play, Dimitri Patterson will start opposite Sheldon Brown, and rookie Buster Skrine will play in the nickel defense.
Linebacker Titus Brown, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in a preseason game on Aug. 25, practiced all week. "There's a good chance that he'll be active," Shurmur said. "He's had a really good week of practice. We're gonna take him out there with the idea that there's a good chance he could play." Brown has yet to make his 2011 regular-season debut.