About seven months after suffering a season-ending knee injury, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer looks sharp and appears to be ahead of schedule on the comeback trail.
Hoyer is participating today in the franchise’s first practice of its three-day voluntary veteran minicamp under new coach Mike Pettine. Hoyer led the Browns to back-to-back wins last September before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills.
Hoyer, the team’s incumbent starting quarterback, displayed impressive footwork and delivered crisp passes while dropping back and throwing to receivers during individual drills in the team’s field house in Berea. The brace on his right knee served as the only visible reminder of his injury.
Starting defensive end Desmond Bryant was the only Browns player who wasn’t in the field house during the 30 minutes of practice open to reporters. A team spokesman said Bryant has been participating in the offseason workout program after undergoing a cardiac ablation Dec. 6 at the Cleveland Clinic to fix an irregular heartbeat that ended his first season with the Browns after 12 games.
Meanwhile, wide receivers Travis Benjamin (torn ACL last season) and Charles Johnson (torn ACL last season), inside linebackers Brandon Magee (torn pectoral muscle last season) and Tank Carder (unknown) and defensive back Brandon Hughes (unknown) worked out on the side with trainers today but didn’t practice.
In addition to Hoyer, the following players were injured last season but practiced today: running back Dion Lewis (fractured leg), outside linebacker Quentin Groves (ankle), offensive lineman Chris Faulk (knee) and safety Josh Aubrey (ankle).
Linebacker Zac Diles joined quarterbacks Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen as the players participating in minicamp this week on a tryout basis. A veteran of seven NFL seasons, Diles spent the past two years with the Tennessee Titans.