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Browns RB Trent Richardson says he played most of his rookie season with broken ribs

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 31, 2012

Browns running back Trent Richardson revealed today that he played most of his rookie season with broken ribs and still can’t lie on his right side or his back because it’s too painful.

Richardson was hurt Oct. 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he and the Browns said he suffered a rib cartilage injury. With the season wrapped up, Richardson admitted two or three of his ribs were broken.

“Sometimes it’s hard to shift positions, twist, catch balls on my shoulder,” said Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. “It was real tough because it limits you from a lot. You can’t really cut like you want to or you can’t really make the body movement like you want to. You can’t squeeze through the hole like you want to. You can’t really get full burst ‘cause your feet hitting the ground, it’s impacting all of that. It hurts a lot, especially when you get punched and you get hit in that side. Some guys on the ground want to do other stuff, want to come in and land on your ribs, which really hurts. It impacts a lot.”

The injury affects him off the field, too. He props himself up to sleep.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 31, 2012

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

Jimmy Haslam

(Opening statement)- “Good morning and thanks for coming. I think everybody has read the press release and is well aware of why we’re here today. Joe (Banner) and I did meet with Pat (Shurmur) and Tom (Heckert) this morning and had what I would describe as a very professional meeting, as you would expect, with the both of them. We told them that we were going to make a change in both of their positions. As I said, we had very professional conversations and both of them are now ready to move on and, candidly, we’re ready to move on. I know there’s going to be a million questions about this person and that person and let me just make a few remarks. Let me start by saying we want to thank both Pat and Tom for their service to the organization. They’re people who, particularly in my case Pat, I’ve gotten to know well over the last few months and think a tremendous amount of him as a person. I think that both of them left the organization better than when they came. We just felt like it was necessary - to get to a championship level - to make these changes, but we do want to thank them. We certainly wish them and their families the very best going forward. Joe and I are going to begin, very quickly, to look for a new head coach first and then a GM/player personnel-type second. There will be a million rumors out there. You all have done this before, about this person and that person. Much like when we spoke on August 3, we’re not going to comment on any people, specifically for either of the two searches. There are only two people who know who the candidates are and you’re looking at both of them. Although we only made the decision with Pat and Tom in the last week or two, I think any responsible person does succession planning and, candidly, we’ve been doing succession planning for the last two or three months. We think this is a great organization despite the changes that have occurred in the past. We’re well aware that this has been a carousel and as I’ve said before, it’s Joe and I’s job to find the right coach and the right GM and bring stability long term for the organization. That’s our role and we take it very responsibly, very seriously. We’ve researched a lot of people and we’ll be talking to some of those people here over the next few weeks. Our goal is to get the best person and if we happen to find that person within a week, that’s great and if it takes a month, that’s great also. I mean that for the best person for each of the two jobs. I just want to reiterate again, I don’t think it does any value or good to either the Cleveland Browns organization or those people to comment on any names so we’re not going to. As soon as we sign up somebody to be our head coach, you all will be notified and we’ll have them in this room. You’ll get the chance to talk to them and ask them a lot of question and the same with the GM/player personnel guy. I think before we answer any questions, Joe wants to make a few comments, particularly about Pat and Tom and his relationship with them and we’ll let Joe do that now.”

Joe Banner

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Browns fire coach Pat Shurmur, GM Tom Heckert; will hire new head coach before personnel man

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 31, 2012

The Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert this morning, less than 24 hours after another disappointing season wrapped up with a 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The organization’s new regime of owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner is on a quest to replace Shurmur, 47, and Heckert, 45. Both of them have two years left on their contracts.

During a news conference this afternoon, Haslam and Banner said they will hire a head coach first because he will play a more significant role in their organizational structure. Banner acknowledged that approach will limit their pool of general managers.

“Joe and I are going to begin very quickly to look for a new head coach first and then a GM, player-personnel-type second,” Haslam said. “There will be a million rumors out there -- you all have done this before – about this person or that person. We’re not going to comment on any people specifically for either of the two searches. Candidly, there are only two people who know who the candidates are, and you’re looking at both of them. Although we only made the decision with Pat and Tom in the last week or two, I think any responsible person does succession planning, and, candidly, we’ve been doing succession planning for the last two or three months.

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Browns have sixth overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft after finishing with record of 5-11

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 30, 2012

The Browns have the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft after finishing the season with a record of 5-11.

The Kansas City (2-14, No. 1 overall), Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14, No. 2), Oakland Raiders (4-12, No. 3), Philadelphia Eagles (4-12, No. 4), Detroit Lions (4-12, No. 5) are slotted ahead of the Browns in the draft order. The Arizona Cardinals (5-11, No. 7), Buffalo Bills (6-10, No. 8), New York Jets (6-10, No. 9) and Tennessee Titans (6-10, No. 10) round out the top 10.

The Browns don’t have a second-round pick next year because they gave it up to select wide receiver Josh Gordon on July 12 in the supplemental draft.

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Game day blog: Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 17)

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 30, 2012

Final: Steelers 24, Browns 10 (game story; Marla Ridenour's column; notebook; thumbs up/thumbs down; box score)

Inactives: Browns – quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy (right shoulders), cornerback Sheldon Brown (concussion), running back Trent Richardson (left ankle), linebacker Adrian Moten, guard Jarrod Shaw and tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion). Steelers – quarterback Byron Leftwich, wide receiver David Gilreath, cornerback Justin King, linebacker Marshall McFadden, defensive end Al Woods, defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo and nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu.

Lineup changes: Browns – Thaddeus Lewis will start at quarterback in place of Weeden. Montario Hardesty will start at running back in place of Richardson. Buster Skrine will start at cornerback in place of Sheldon Brown. Eric Hagg will start at strong safety and Tashaun Gipson at free safety with Usama Young and T.J. Ward on injured reserve. Steelers – Kelvin Beachum will start at right tackle in place of Mike Adams, who was placed on injured reserve. Emmanuel Sanders will start at wide receiver in place of Mike Wallace, who was placed on injured reserve.

Storylines by Stephanie Storm: 1. With former owner Randy Lerner and former president Mike Holmgren already gone and replaced by new owner Jimmy Haslam III and CEO Joe Banner, today’s game is likely the last for General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur and his staff. 2. The Browns will be without quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy (both suffered shoulder injuries last week), so Thaddeus Lewis will get the start. Lewis, who has never appeared in an NFL regular-season game, spent a majority of the season as the team’s third quarterback and practice-squad player. Backing up Lewis today is newcomer Josh Johnson, who was signed as a free agent Wednesday and had been out of the NFL all season. 3. With the Browns out of playoff contention for weeks and the Steelers eliminated last week in a 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, this is pretty much a meaningless game. The only things at stake are pride and a few statistics. The Browns are aiming for their first season sweep of the rival Steelers since 1988. The Steelers (7-8) are trying to avoid a losing season for the first time since 2003 and for the fourth time in the past 20 years. 4. When the two teams played Nov. 25, the Browns didn’t need to worry about facing Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was sidelined with rib and shoulder injuries. Backup Byron Leftwich was also out with a broken ribs, so third-stringer Charlie Batch started. Batch struggled and the visiting Steelers fell 20-14 to the Browns. Now Roethlisberger is back. 5. Browns defensive end Jabaal Sheard played at the University of Pittsburgh. … Browns safety Ray Ventrone was born in Pittsburgh and attended Chartiers Valley High School. … Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple was on the Steelers’ staff from 2004-2006. … Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler was on the Browns’ staff from 1999-2002. … Steelers quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner was born in Cleveland. … Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell worked for the Browns from 1991-93.

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Browns hire Brent Stehlik as their executive vice president -- chief revenue officer

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 30, 2012

The Browns have made another hired on the business side of the organization by bringing in Brent Stehlik as their executive vice president -- chief revenue officer, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the move.

The team has yet to announce the hiring, which is one of many changes on the horizon for the Browns. The new regime of owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner is expected to part with coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert by Monday.

The Browns (5-10) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) in the season finale at 1 p.m. today at Heinz Field.

Stehlik, a Cleveland native and Mount Union graduate, previously served as the senior vice president of business operations for the San Diego Padres. He oversaw all aspects of revenue generation and marketing for the Padres.

On Dec. 18, the Browns named Alec Scheiner their president. He will oversee the day-to-day business operations of the organization.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 28, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today after practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “I really don’t have anything to add other than that I’m going to rule out Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Colt McCoy, Jordan Cameron and Sheldon Brown. I’m going to rule them out. That being said, Thad Lewis will start and Josh Johnson will back him up. At the other positions the guys will just slide up.”

(On how Lewis has done this week)- “He’s done great. He’s had a good week of practice. He’s been preparing himself to play all year even though he wasn’t on the active roster. We anticipate and what we expect is that he goes out and plays winning football.”

(On if he has to pare the game plan for Lewis and Johnson)- “Thad’s going to go out and execute our plays. If Josh has to go in and play, I’m certain he’s going to execute the plays well that we call for him.”

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Friday's Browns-Steelers injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 28, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 28

Browns – Out: CB Sheldon Brown (concussion/foot), TE Jordan Cameron (concussion), QB Colt McCoy (right shoulder), RB Trent Richardson (left ankle) and QB Brandon Weeden (right shoulder). Questionable: DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf). Probable: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), FS Tashaun Gipson (foot), LG John Greco (thumb), DT John Hughes (back), DE Juqua Parker (knee), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hamstring), TE Alex Smith (illness) and OT Joe Thomas (back).

Steelers – Out: OT Mike Adams (ankle), CB Curtis Brown (ankle), LB Marshall McFadden (abdomen) and WR Mike Wallace (hip). Probable: G David DeCastro (hamstring), CB Keenan Lewis (knee) and S Troy Polamalu (not injury related).

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QB Thaddeus Lewis, RB Montario Hardesty to start Sunday for Browns; CB Sheldon Brown's streak to end

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 28, 2012

Third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and backup running back Montario Hardesty will start Sunday when the Browns (5-10) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) and their No. 1-ranked defense, coach Pat Shurmur said today after practice.

“Part of my childhood dream was to be a starter one day in the NFL,” said Lewis, who will become the Browns' 18th starting quarterback since their expansion era began in 1999. “Who it was against, I didn't have as visual of that. But it's a challenge, and if you don't like challenges, then you're in the wrong sport. It's a great challenge for this football team to go out there, for this offense to go against the No. 1 defense and try to be successful."

Shurmur officially ruled out quarterbacks Brandon Weeden (sprained right shoulder) and Colt McCoy (right shoulder), running back Trent Richardson (left ankle), cornerback Sheldon Brown (concussion) and tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion). Weeden, McCoy, Richardson and Brown suffered their injuries Sunday in the Browns’ 34-12 loss to the Denver Broncos. Cameron was hurt Dec. 16 in the Browns’ 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins. None of them practiced this week.

Hardesty has compiled 51 carries for 234 yards (4.6 average) and a touchdown. He will start for the first time this season.

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Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Trent Richardson among Browns players still idle, likely to be ruled out

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 28, 2012

Third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and backup running back Montario Hardesty are expected to start Sunday when the Browns (5-10) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) and their No. 1-ranked defense.

Quarterbacks Brandon Weeden (sprained right shoulder) and Colt McCoy (right shoulder), running back Trent Richardson (left ankle), cornerback Sheldon Brown (concussion) and tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) didn’t practice today. Weeden, McCoy, Richardson and Brown suffered their injuries Sunday in the Browns’ 34-12 loss to the Denver Broncos. Cameron was hurt Dec. 16 in the Browns’ 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins.

None of them has practiced this week, and coach Pat Shurmur will likely rule them out this afternoon. He is scheduled to meet with reporters at 12:30 p.m. today.

In addition to Lewis and Hardesty probably entering the starting lineup, second-year cornerback Buster Skrine is expected to start in place of Brown. Rookie Trevin Wade, a seventh-round draft pick, would then serve as the nickel cornerback.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 27, 2012

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On his seasonal overview of Brandon Weeden and where he thinks he’s headed)- “It feels kind of like unfinished business right here. I know I’ll have to sit down and write reports for personnel people here toward the end of it. Just like the season, some good some bad. I wish I could tell you that it ended on a real high note. I sure wouldn’t characterize last week as a real high note for any of us.”

(On if Montario Hardesty starts would the game plan be different based on his running style and how it differs from Trent Richardson)- “No, we really design the game plan to attack the Steelers brand of defense. Just the same as I would say, when Trent (Richardson) was carrying the ball before, Montario happened to come in, those plays are all designed to attack the defense that you’re trying to attack. We probably won’t do anything out of the ordinary with Montario that we wouldn’t do with Trent.”

(On what he expects from Hardesty)- “Trent could be the spot player this week if he can make it back, because I don’t think Pat’s (Shurmur) ruled him out quite yet. With that in mind, we’re still trying to attack Pittsburgh’s brand of defense. We know it’s the number one defense in the National Football League, so not too bad a defense to be trying to attack.”

(On how difficult it is to prepare Thaddeus Lewis to play at Pittsburgh after being on the practice squad last week)- “It’s a tall mountain, but a guy like Thad, who’s been in this system, has played in the preseason, we watch him every day. He’s running the card team, but he gets to sit in all those meetings. He does run a portion of practice, our run game portion of practice at times down with George Warhop and Gary Brown. It’s not daunting to him, is the point. I think he’s actually kind of looking forward to maybe the opportunity to play.”

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Transcript from news conference with Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 27, 2012

Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On what the defense has accomplished this year and how does that apply to next year)- “I’m not sure I totally understand the question, but I think we’ve talked a lot of times that the defense now is significantly deeper up front with good players. We’ll be able to play in waves. That should service well as time passes. The injuries to the linebacker corps really depleted them. It allowed for some younger players to get a lot of playing experience and that should bode well for the future also. It’s kind of the same thing that has happened in the secondary, really depleted, and a lot of guys have played. I think that should help also as we move forward. The bad news is not nearly as many wins as obviously you want to have in a season. I guess the good news is it’s a young team that’s got some talented players. We should just get better.”

(On if it would be difficult to go back to a 3-4 defense)- “I don’t know. I hadn’t ever really thought about that. I think that our tackles certainly could play the nose. Some of them could play defensive end. Certainly, Billy Winn could play defensive end easily I think in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a talented player, can play either tackle or defensive end. Jabaal’s (Sheard) a player. I don’t know. I don’t know if it would be difficult or not. I’d have to think about it some more, but some good players.”

(On if Sheard is too big to play outside linebacker)- “I would never put anything past Jabaal. Jabaal is really a good player and a very good athlete. I suspect that he probably could.”

(On if he can explain what happened the last two games)- “No, things happen on the field and you’ve got to play with the players that you have, and then you’ve got to perform. I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready and making better calls, get them in better positions to make plays.”

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 27, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “I’m sure it’s on the tip of your tongue so Colt (McCoy), Trent (Richardson), Brandon (Weeden) and Sheldon (Brown) are same status as yesterday. It will be easy for you guys to type out.”

(On if he is still not ruling out any of those players)- “No, I’m not going to rule anybody out yet. We’ll just have to see. Everybody comes back from these things, some quicker than others so we’ll just see. But as we get closer, of course, if they can’t play I’m not going to try to hold it to game time.”

(On Phil Dawson being named to the Pro Bowl)- “I probably should have led off with that. I’m extremely pleased that he’s been recognized. I have a huge appreciation for him, of course. In the last two years, he’s one of the outstanding kickers and he does it - we would all agree - in a climate at times that’s less than ideal for kickers. He’s kicked at a high level for a very long time. I’m extremely thrilled that he was recognized by his peers, the coaches and the fans. I think that’s good much like Joe Thomas. Again, a very steady player. In order to be an offensive lineman you have to play at a high level and be very steady and Joe has done that. I’m happy for those two guys that they were recognized.”

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Thursday's Browns-Steelers injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 27, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 27

Browns – Did not participate in practice: CB Sheldon Brown (concussion/foot), TE Jordan Cameron (head), QB Colt McCoy (right shoulder), RB Trent Richardson (ankle) and QB Brandon Weeden (right shoulder). Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), DE Juqua Parker (knee), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hamstring) and OT Joe Thomas (back). Full participation in practice: FS Tashaun Gipson (foot), LG John Greco (thumb), DT John Hughes (back) and TE Alex Smith (illness).

Steelers – Did not participate in practice: OT Mike Adams (ankle), CB Curtis Brown (ankle), CB Keenan Lewis (knee), S Troy Polamalu (not injury related) and WR Mike Wallace (hip). Limited participation in practice: LB Marshall McFadden (abdomen). Full participation in practice: G David DeCastro (hamstring).
 

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Browns notes: QB Thaddeus Lewis, backup RB Montario Hardesty still preparing to start vs. Steelers

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 27, 2012

Third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and backup running back Montario Hardesty are one step closer to starting Sunday when the Browns (5-10) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8).

Quarterbacks Brandon Weeden (sprained right shoulder) and Colt McCoy (right shoulder), running back Trent Richardson (left ankle) and cornerback Sheldon Brown (concussion) won’t practice today but still haven’t been ruled out for Sunday, coach Pat Shurmur said this morning during a news conference.

Shurmur said he won’t wait until game time to rule any of them out if they cannot play. In other words, Shurmur will likely rule them out Friday if they’re going to sit out.

Of course, if Weeden and McCoy are out, Lewis would play in an NFL regular-season game for the first time. If that becomes the case, Josh Johnson would serve as Lewis’ backup.

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Browns kicker Phil Dawson, left tackle Joe Thomas named to Pro Bowl

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 26, 2012

Browns kicker Phil Dawson has made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his 14-year NFL career, and Browns offensive left tackle Joe Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in as many seasons.

“I was happy that Phil and Joe were recognized for having Pro Bowl seasons,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said in a statement. “Phil has been one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL throughout his career, and this year he was near-perfect, including many long-range field goals. I believe it is very appropriate that he is getting his due credit after 14 years in the league. Joe has established himself as one of the top left tackles in the game, and he has played at a very high level once again this year. He was a big part of the improvement that I felt we made as an offense.”

Dawson has made 28-of-29 field-goal attempts this season, and the only miss was blocked. He has made six field goals of 50 yards or longer, which ties him for first in the AFC and third in the NFL in that category. His career field-goal percentage of 84.2 is the highest in Browns history and seventh-best in NFL history. His field-goal percentage of 96.6 this season leads the AFC and is second in the NFL.

Thomas, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, has played all 95 games and hasn’t missed an offensive snap since joining the Browns. Thirteen of the 15 players who have made the Pro Bowl in each of their first six seasons have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Browns LT Joe Thomas makes 6th consecutive Pro Bowl; Josh Cribbs voted first alternate

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 26, 2012

Browns left offensive tackle Joe Thomas has been selected to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in as many seasons, his agent, Peter Schaffer, announced on Twitter.

Browns veteran Josh Cribbs, meanwhile, is a first alternate as a kick returner and special teamer, a league source said. Cribbs won the fan vote – players and coaches also vote -- as an AFC special teamer. Cribbs made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009.

The full Pro Bowl squads will be announced at 7 p.m. today on NFL Network. The 2013 Pro Bowl will be played at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu and will be televised on NBC.

Thomas, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, has played all 95 games and hasn’t missed an offensive snap since joining the Browns.

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Wednesday's Browns-Steelers injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 26, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 26

Browns – Did not participate in practice: CB Sheldon Brown (concussion/foot), TE Jordan Cameron (head), QB Colt McCoy (right shoulder), RB Trent Richardson (ankle) and QB Brandon Weeden (right shoulder). Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), FS Tashaun Gipson (foot), DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), DE Juqua Parker (knee), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hamstring) and OT Joe Thomas (back). Full participation in practice: LG John Greco (thumb), DT John Hughes (back and TE Alex Smith (illness).

Steelers – Did not participate in practice: CB Curtis Brown (ankle), CB Keenan Lewis (knee), S Troy Polamalu (not injury related) and WR Mike Wallace (hip). Limited participation in practice: T Mike Adams (ankle). Full participation in practice: G David DeCastro (hamstring).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 26, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “First off, our fourth captain this week will be Jabaal Sheard. I think it’s a good choice. He’s been playing good ball here for two years and he’s going back to Pittsburgh, a place that he played. I think that’s a good choice. A couple of roster moves we made, you saw the one that’s out there, we put Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) on IR and then, of course, we just put Usama Young on IR as well with the thumb. He’s going to likely have surgery. A couple other roster moves, we moved Thad Lewis up to the active roster and we also signed Josh Johnson to the active roster. Then, Jordan Mabin, a safety from Northwestern, we brought on the practice. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of interest about the health of a couple guys. I’ll just tell you, Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson were injured in the game and their injuries will not require surgery. They’ll be healthy soon. They won’t practice today, but I will not rule them out for this weekend. We’ll see as the week goes on. Colt McCoy also will not practice today. He’s got a sore shoulder from the game. That being the case, Thad Lewis will take the first team reps and Josh Johnson, who’s our new quarterback, will run the scout team. Sheldon Brown, as you know, is coming back from the concussion so time will tell there.”

(On if Colt McCoy hurt his throwing shoulder)- “Yeah, it would be his right shoulder.”

(On what he knows about Weeden and Richardson that he did not know on Monday)- “The injuries were not as severe as you might have thought, but they’re still injured. Again, I don’t like talking about injuries, but I was just guessing that was going to be the main focal point of your questioning so I figured I’d get that out.”

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Browns 3rd-string QB Thaddeus Lewis practicing with starters because Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy hurt

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 26, 2012

Browns third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis took reps with the starters today because rookie Brandon Weeden (sprained throwing shoulder) and Colt McCoy (sore throwing shoulder) did not practice today.

If neither Weeden nor McCoy can play Sunday, Lewis would start for the Browns (5-10) in their season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) at Heinz Field. Lewis, who has spent the majority of the past two seasons with the Browns as a member of their active roster and practice squad, has never played in an NFL regular-season game.

“Whoever’s in there I trust,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said today. “I’ve had experience with Thad in the past, and he hasn’t had a lot of opportunity in regular-season games to go in there and play. But if he’s in there playing, we definitely trust that he’ll do a good job.”

The Browns signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Johnson to their active roster today, and he would serve as Lewis’ backup if Weeden and McCoy are sidelined. Johnson ran the scout team today in practice, Shurmur said.

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Browns elevate QB Thaddeus Lewis to active roster, place WR Mohamed Massaquoi on injured reserve

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 24, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur has not ruled out rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden for the season finale Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Weeden sprained his right shoulder Sunday in the third quarter of the Browns' 34-12 loss to the Denver Broncos, Shurmur said today during a news conference.

The Browns, though, elevated third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis from their practice squad to their active roster. He would serve as Colt McCoy’s backup if Weeden sits out against the Steelers.

To make room for Lewis on the 53-man roster, the Browns placed wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi on injured reserve. Massaquoi, a second-round draft pick in 2009, appeared on the injury report last week with an injured knee and was inactive Sunday.

Massaquoi’s contract expires in March, meaning his career with the Browns might be over. He compiled 17 catches for 254 yards and started five of the nine games in which he appeared this season.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 24, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “Going back on the game, of course, that was a disappointing loss. I’m not discouraged. It was disappointing. It was 14-3 at halftime. We knew we had to score touchdowns to keep up with them, because they’ve got a ball control offense and they score lots of points. It was 14-3 at half, we came out took the first drive the second half, went 14-6. However we got to that point, we were within one score. After that of course, it got stretched out on us. I’ll go back to it; we’ve got to learn how to finish. We played an outstanding football team. I think that’s pretty obvious watching them play. They played extremely well. They threw one interception, and then they exposed themselves to a couple turnovers on muffed punts. Other than that, they took care of the football pretty well. They ball controlled it and got points. When we did turn it over on the muffed punt ourselves, then they got points. We got beat by a good football team, had even more young guys out there playing, which I’m sure we can talk about. It was a good opportunity for a lot of young players to be out there battling, and you can see we’ve got a long way to go.”

(On the status of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden)- “We’re evaluating. We got banged up a little bit, so we’re still evaluating those injuries. In the case of Trent, it involved his ankle. The x-rays didn’t show a break, but we haven’t finished up the evaluation. He was actually feeling better today, so we’ll see how that goes. Brandon, it was his right shoulder. At this point, it’s a sprain, so we’ll just see where that goes.”

(On if he would rule them out for Sunday)- “Either one of them no. I wouldn’t rule them out yet.”

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Browns coach Pat Shurmur hasn't ruled out Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson for Sunday vs. Steelers

By Marla Ridenour Published: December 24, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur didn’t rule out quarterback Brandon Weeden or running back Trent Richardson for Sunday’s season finale at Pittsburgh.

Shurmur said Weeden suffered a sprained right shoulder in the third quarter of the 34-12 loss at Denver. Richardson suffered a left ankle injury on the second-to-last offensive play.

Asked why he was passing on the final series instead of running, Shurmur said, “So you just run the ball and get out of there, warm up the buses? Is that what? We’re trying to do what we can to move the football. At that time it was a three-score game. Typically that means throw it.”

Asked the status of the two, Shurmur said, "We’re still evaluating those injuries. In the case of Trent, it involved his ankle. The X-rays didn’t show a break, but we haven’t finished up the evaluation. He was actually feeling better today. So we’ll see how that goes.

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Game day blog: Browns at Denver Broncos (Week 16)

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 23, 2012

Final score: Broncos 34, Browns 12 (game story -- Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden hurt in blowout loss; notebook -- Josh Cribbs lashes out at fans on Twitter after lopsided loss; thumbs up/thumbs down; box score)

Inactives: Browns – wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (knee), running back Brandon Jackson, free safety Tashaun Gipson (foot), linebacker Adrian Moten, defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), guard Jarrod Shaw and tight end Jordan Cameron (head). Notes: Massaquoi, Gipson and Cameron were ruled out Friday. Defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip) and tight end Alex Smith (illness/knee) were listed as questionable heading into today, but both of them are active. Broncos – quarterback Caleb Hanie, wide receiver Andre Caldwell, cornerback Tony Carter, fullback Chris Gronkowski (hamstring), guard Chris Kuper (ankle), tight end Julius Thomas and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.

Lineup changes: Browns – Eric Hagg will start at free safety in place of Gipson, who was hurt Thursday during practice. Usama Young will start at strong safety in place of T.J. Ward, who was put on injured reserve Tuesday with a bone bruise on his knee. Broncos – Manny Ramirez will start at right guard in place of Kuper.

Storylines to watch by Stephanie Storm: 1. Peyton Manning was supposed to be finished. Four neck surgeries will do that to a quarterback. But Manning has proved again that he has never been an ordinary player, taking over in Denver after Indianapolis opted to rebuild with Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, all the supposedly washed-up Manning has done is add to his future hall of fame resume with another MVP-caliber season — leading the Broncos to an 11-3 mark with 31 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. While Manning has lost some of his arm strength and has resorted to shorter passes, his trademark accuracy is as deadly as it’s ever been. 2. The Broncos have won nine consecutive games and have already clinched the AFC West Division title, but don’t expect them to take it easy on the visiting Browns. There’s more work to do. Denver is still looking to lock up the No. 2 playoff seed in the AFC and the first-round bye that accompanies it. 3. The Browns lost strong safety T.J. Ward (bruised knee) and rookie strongside linebacker James-Michael Johnson (groin) during last week’s game, each landing on injured reserve Tuesday. That means Usama Young will start as strong safety in place of Ward and rookie Eric Hagg will move into Young’s role as free safety. Meanwhile, rookie Craig Robertson will continue to play linebacker alongside veteran D’Qwell Jackson in the nickel package. Rookie Tank Carder is likely to receive playing time in the base defense in place of Johnson. Because the Browns cut veteran Dimiti Patterson on Monday, second-year player Buster Skrine will become the cornerback in the nickel package. 4. Last week’s embarrassing loss to the Washington Redskins dashed any hopes that the Browns could sneak into the playoffs. But there’s still plenty for the young team to play for today against Denver and next week at Pittsburgh. Players old and young are looking to finish strong. The last two weeks of the season are akin to final auditions in front of the new regime of owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner. 5. Connections abound in this game, beginning with Broncos safety Mike Adams, who played for the Browns for five seasons (2007-11). … Broncos kicker Matt Prater is a Mayfield Heights native. … Broncos tackle Orlando Franklin and Browns receiver Travis Benjamin were teammates at the University of Miami for three seasons (2008-10). Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple was the Hurricanes offensive coordinator for two of those years (2009-10). … Broncos defensive tackle Mitch Unrein spent the 2008 and ’09 seasons with Browns defensive back Tashaun Gibson at Wyoming. … Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell and Browns defensive back Joe Haden were teammates at Florida in 2007. … Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers and punter Britton Colquitt played with Browns running back Montario Hardesty for four seasons (2005-08) at Tennessee.

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Friday's Browns-Broncos injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 21, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 21

Browns – Out: TE Jordan Cameron (head), FS Tashaun Gipson (foot) and WR Mohamed Massaquoi (knee). Questionable: DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip) and TE Alex Smith (illness/knee). Probable: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), OT Oniel Cousins (shin), WR Josh Cribbs (knee), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), RG Shawn Lauvao (head/foot), OT Ryan Miller (not injury related), DE Juqua Parker (knee), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), DT Phil Taylor (knee/calf) and OT Joe Thomas (back).

Broncos – Doubtful: G Chris Kuper (ankle). Questionable: FB Chris Gronkowski (hamstring). Probable: S Mike Adams (knee), WR Eric Decker (ankle), WR Trindon Holliday (knee), C Dan Koppen (knee), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs), DT Kevin Vickerson (groin), WR Matt Willis (knee) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle).
 

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 21, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “(Tashaun) Gipson, (Mohamed) Massaquoi and (Jordan) Cameron, I’m going to rule them out at this point. They won’t even make the trip with us so I’ll save you the searching on that.”

(On if Gipson got hurt yesterday in practice)- “He did.”

(On what Eric Hagg learned from his starts early this season)- “I think he’s learned that he can play in this league. He did a good job while he was in there. He does a good job in coverage. Anytime you play for a while and then you don’t play, it gives you a little better view of it while you’re watching it. I’m sure he’s learned something as he’s prepared.”

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Browns coach Pat Shurmur rules out FS Tashaun Gipson, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, TE Jordan Cameron

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 21, 2012

Coach Pat Shurmur ruled out free safety Tashaun Gipson (foot), wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (knee) and tight end Jordan Cameron (head) for Sunday, when the Browns (5-9) will visit the Denver Broncos (11-3).

None of the aforementioned players will travel with the team, Shurmur said.

Eric Hagg will start in place of Gipson, who was hurt in practice Thursday. Hagg started the first two games this season.

“It’s another opportunity for me to prove myself to the coaches,” Hagg said.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 20, 2012

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On what happened on Brandon Weeden’s interception early in the second half against the Redskins)- “It was a deep crossing route, if my memory serves, to Greg Little. I just don’t think he put enough air on top of the ball. I don’t think he saw the guy, obviously, or he wouldn’t have thrown it quite the way he threw it, but he didn’t give it enough air to put over the top.”

(On what Weeden needs to do after he throws an interception like the one early in the second half against Washington)- “He needs to get back and look. He gets on the sideline, he looks at the pictures. I don’t know if you’re asking directly what happens after that.”

(On how he moves forward from throwing interceptions)- “Just like he’s done all year long, we’ve got to keep shooting. You can’t go into a shell and be afraid to throw it up out there, obviously with merit. You need to see those kinds of things, but once that happens to you one time you’re a little bit more diplomatic with your next throw. Without holding on to it and being conservative with it.”

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Transcript from news conference with Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 20, 2012

Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On going against Peyton Manning)- “It’s clearly really tough. There are very few teams that have any kind of record against him over the years of his playing career. He’s clearly headed for the Hall of Fame. He’s one of the best that has ever played the game. He’s very smart. He studies, prepares himself well. It’s difficult and about everything has been tried, that’s for sure. He doesn’t win every one of them so we’ll prepare and we’ll go out there and try to play our best game.”

(On if they will try to disguise coverages against Manning)- “I think everybody does it. Everybody tries it, not only against him but in every game. You’re always trying to disguise what you’re playing. Every team will try it, and sometimes you probably do fool him, but he’s still pretty good with the ball. If you can just try to make him ready your coverage once he gets the snap in his hands, he’s plenty good enough. If you give him all kinds of indications prior to the snap, then he’s even better than that. That’s what people try to do. They are trying to hide what they are doing until he gets the ball in his hand, until the ball is snapped, and then you play and it’s on from there.”

(On if there is no point in blizing Manning because he is so effective against it)- “Honestly, he’s effective against almost everything you do, so the blitz plays a part in it. It certainly does. I think against every quarterback, even him, they’ve got to be aware that you will blitz, you’ll bring people. He reads it awfully quickly like he does most things in football. He’s extremely professional, very prepared, very experienced. He can tell by your tilts, and where the safeties go and that kind of thing, where the pressure is coming from. I think you’ve just got to keep mixing it up like people do and then fight. You’ve got to fight for 60 minutes and hope you can get some breaks, and you can get the ball bouncing your way. Some luck always plays into every game and just play hard.”

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Thursday's Browns-Broncos injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 20, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 20

Browns – Did not participate in practice: TE Jordan Cameron (head), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (knee) and DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip). Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), FS Tashaun Gipson (foot), DE Juqua Parker (knee), DT Phil Taylor (knee/calf) and OT Joe Thomas (back). Full participation in practice: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), OT Oniel Cousins (shin), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), RG Shawn Lauvao (head/foot), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger) and TE Alex Smith (knee).

Broncos – Did not participate in practice: G Chris Kuper (ankle). Limited participation in practice: FB Chris Gronkowski (hamstring) and DT Kevin Vickerson (groin). Full participation in practice: S Mike Adams (knee), WR Eric Decker (ankle), WR Trindon Holliday (knee), C Dan Koppen (knee), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs), WR Matt Willis (knee) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 20, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On if the Broncos’ wide receivers complement each other as possession receivers)- “In terms of possession receivers? They all need to be possession receivers. That means they catch the ball. (Eric) Decker’s done a nice job for them and (Demaryius) Thomas is very explosive. I think they both play extremely well. They catch the ball outside, inside and they’ve done a good job. They’ve done a really good job.”

(On what difference it makes for them having Peyton Manning at quarterback)- “I don’t know. I’m sure with Peyton running the offense there’s some synergy there. Good quarterbacks make everybody around them better. I’m sure that can be said about Peyton. I’ve never really been around him, but just watching him play, the players around him play at a high level.”

(On if Manning not taking many sacks throughout his career is because of his offensive line or his quick release)- “I think getting sacks and giving up sacks is a team thing. They’ve been very well coordinated with that they do and getting rid of the football.”

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Browns notes: Josh Cribbs finishes first among AFC special teamers in Pro Bowl fan voting

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 20, 2012

Browns veteran Josh Cribbs finished first among AFC special teamers in Pro Bowl fan voting. He received 127,848 online votes.

The AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters are formed with the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters, which will be announced at 7 p.m. Dec. 26 on NFL Network. Players and coaches will cast their votes today and Friday.

Cribbs, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, also finished second among AFC kick returners with 135,101 votes. Although Phil Dawson did not crack the list of the top-five AFC kickers after the first week of fan voting, he rallied and finished second with 120,620 votes. D’Qwell Jackson finished second among AFC inside linebackers with 150,442 votes.

The Baltimore Ravens’ Jacoby Jones (143,047 votes) finished first among AFC kick returners. The Oakland Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski (138,068 votes) took first among AFC kickers. And the New England Patriots’ Jerod Mayo (143,047 votes) finished first among AFC inside linebackers.

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Wednesday's Browns-Broncos injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 19, 2012

Injury report on Dec. 19

Browns – Did not participate in practice: TE Jordan Cameron (head) and DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip). Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), RG Shawn Lauvao (head/foot), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (knee), DE Juqua Parker (knee), DT Phil Taylor (knee) and OT Joe Thomas (back). Full participation in practice: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), OT Oniel Cousins (shin), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger) and TE Alex Smith (knee).

Broncos – Did not participate in practice: CB Champ Bailey (not injury related), FB Chris Gronkowski (hamstring) and G Chris Kuper (ankle). Limited participation in practice: S Mike Adams (knee) and DT Kevin Vickerson (groin). Full participation in practice: WR Eric Decker (ankle), WR Trindon Holliday (knee), C Dan Koppen (knee), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs), WR Matt Willis (knee) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 19, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “As I do every week, our fourth captain will be Kaluka Maiava, another good choice. He’s been a steady performer on special teams around here for a long time, and then he’s added to that some outstanding play, in my opinion, this year at linebacker. It’s another good choice. The preparation has been good so far, we’ve got it all started. We’ve got all our efforts pointed toward getting on a plane, going to Denver and playing the Broncos.”

(On if he can explain why they waived Dimitri Patterson)- “No, I’m not going to talk about the whys or what-fors there. I will say this though, I’m happy for him that he’s going to be able to finish out the year in Miami. That will be great for him.”

(On the play of Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz this season and the challenges they face this week)- “I think Joe and Mitchell have played steady and well this year. They are obviously two guys that are at different stages of their career - a guy that’s been a Pro Bowl player for a very long time and then another guy that’s a rookie, emerging player. They’ve both done a good job. They’ve been part of a pretty consistent unit for us. Then the challenge this week of course with (Von) Miller and (Elvis) Dumervil, both guys are getting production. It’s going to be a big challenge. We’ve got to block those guys so they don’t wreck the game. Our guys know the challenge and we’ve just got to go do it.”

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DE Frostee Rucker, TE Jordan Cameron sit out practice, plus other Browns notes

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 19, 2012

Starting right defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip) and tight end Jordan Cameron (head) did not practice today.

Rucker said he expects to play Sunday when the Browns (5-9) visit the Denver Broncos (11-3). Cameron was not in the locker room today.

Rucker suffered his injury this past weekend in the second half of the Browns’ 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Wide receiver Jordan Norwood practiced today for the first time since he injured his left foot Oct. 7 against the New York Giants. Norwood is on injured reserve but designated for return.

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Browns place SS T.J. Ward, LB James-Michael Johnson on IR, add 3 players to active roster

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 18, 2012

The Browns placed strong safety T.J. Ward and rookie strongside linebacker James-Michael Johnson on injured reserve with knee injuries that won’t require surgery, the team announced this evening. A league source told the Beacon Journal this afternoon Ward was headed for IR with a bone bruise on his knee that he suffered in the third quarter of the Browns’ 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins.

The Browns also signed defensive back Prince Miller and linebacker Adrian Moten to their 53-man roster. The team also elevated defensive lineman Hall Davis from the practice squad to the active roster.

Miller has appeared in four career games and has totaled three tackles. He spent three weeks on the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars this season.

Moten has appeared in 13 career games and has three tackles on defense and one special teams fumble recovery. He appeared in one game with the Philadelphia Eagles this season before being waived on Oct. 9.

Davis has appeared in one regular-season game in his career. He spent the past seven weeks on the Browns’ practice squad.

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Browns name Alec Scheiner new president; will oversee day-to-day business operations

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 18, 2012

The Browns have named Alec Scheiner their new president, a role in which he will oversee all aspect of the organization’s day-to-day business operations, the team announced today.

Scheiner spent the past eight years with the Dallas Cowboys and served as their senior vice president and general counsel for the last five. Scheiner will start working for the Browns on Jan. 7. His responsibilities will include overseeing in-game stadium enhancements and local TV and radio broadcasting.

The Browns also announced Bryan Wiedmeier will transition from his role as executive vice president of business operations into a new role in which he will work closely with CEO Joe Banner, focusing on long-term strategic planning for the organization, including stadium projects and other capital endeavors.

The addition of Scheiner will presumably free up Banner to deal more with the football side of the organization. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has said football operations will report to Banner, who developed a reputation as a noted businessman, salary-cap guru and contract negotiator during his 12-year reign as president of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Scheiner, a native of Lower Merion, Pa., and Banner will be available on a conference call at 6:15 p.m. today.

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Browns SS T.J. Ward heading to injured reserve after hurting knee

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 18, 2012

Strong safety T.J. Ward is headed for injured reserve after suffering a bone bruise on his knee Sunday in the third quarter of the Browns’ 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins, a league source confirmed this afternoon for the Beacon Journal.

The Browns are expected to announce some roster moves this evening.

Ward, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, started all 14 games this season and compiled 68 tackles, including a sack, three forced fumbles, one interception and four passes defensed. His 2011 season was also cut short after he sprained his right foot in Week 8 and missed the final eight games.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Ward set up the Browns’ first touchdown against the Redskins when he intercepted a pass tipped by cornerback Sheldon Brown and returned it 37 yards to Washington’s 6-yard line. Rookie running back Trent Richardson rushed for a 6-yard touchdown on the following play.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 17, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement) – “I think I said everything about yesterday’s game. After watching it, I don’t have any new feelings other than the fact that we didn’t do anything really well enough to win the football game. I give credit to them. They did a good job. We went to halftime 14-10. We came out and made a couple mistakes that led to the interceptions. Really, it amounted to three turnovers when you talk about the two interceptions and then the missed fourth down opportunity. When we went for it on fourth down, we then got the ball back without them getting any points. The two turnovers turned into 14 points, which we can’t do that. The games that we won previous, to that in the last three weeks, we didn’t do that. We did it this week and it bit us. We did not do enough to overcome those mistakes. We lost a football game, plain and simple. There’s no big picture view of that, other than the fact that we made too many mistakes, and we did not make enough plays to win the football game. That’s the situation. I’m sure you’ve got some specific questions about players and situations, which I’ll be willing to answer. There were a couple of good things that happened in the game, but when you lose a game, there’s no point in talking about it.”

(On how he evaluates Brandon Weeden and if his big picture view will change) – “I evaluate him based on every throw. I’ve said it all along, when he has the opportunity to throw the football, it comes down to decision-making, timing, accuracy and all those things. You grade him plus or minus in all that. Just like my conversations with the player remain private, my grades of the player remain private. I think what’s important is we all try to do what we can to play winning football and we didn’t. I think the same can be said for a lot of the team.”

(On if he thinks Weeden is still the right guy long term) – “I’m looking forward to him having a better game this week against Denver. I think that’s where the focus needs to be.”

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Browns waive CB Dimitri Patterson after signing him to 3-year, $16 million contract in March

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 17, 2012

The Browns waived cornerback Dimitri Patterson, the team announced today.

Patterson emerged last season as the team’s top nickel corner and was rewarded during the offseason. In March, Patterson signed a three-year contract worth about $16 million, including $6 million guaranteed.

Patterson did not immediately respond to an e-mail from the Beacon Journal seeking comment about his release. Patterson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, replied to an e-mail but declined to comment.

Patterson, 29, missed seven games this season with a left high-ankle sprain and torn ligament he suffered Oct. 7 against the New York Giants. Patterson didn’t do himself any favors in the eyes of the coaching staff by missing that much time. The tension became obvious a couple of weeks ago when he wasn't summoned to return to action even though he said he was ready.

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Browns coach Pat Shurmur says he talked to RB Trent Richardson about his postgame criticism

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 17, 2012

Coach Pat Shurmur said today he talked to rookie running back Trent Richardson about his criticism of the play calling after the Browns’ 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins.

In his postgame interview Sunday evening, Richardson said the offense strayed from the game plan in the second half. Richardson had only two carries after halftime.

“I asked him what he meant by what he said,” Shurmur said. “I said it’s very important that when we’re all in a state of being disappointed that we lost that we keep our focus on, No. 1, regrouping and getting ready to play the next game."

Richardson wasn’t shy about venting his frustration in the locker room after the game.

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Game day blog: Browns vs. Washington Redskins (Week 15); Browns lose 38-21

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 16, 2012

Final score: Redskins 38, Browns 21 (game story; notebook; thumbs up/thumbs down; Marla Ridenour's column; Browns fail to adjust to Kirk Cousins)

End 4Q: Redskins 38, Browns 21—The Browns’ three game winning streak came to an end on Sunday. Evan Royster put Washington up 31-14 early in the quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run. Weeden then hit Travis Benjamin on a fly route for a 69-yard touchdown just over a minute later to remain within striking distance at 31-21. The Redskins and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins then drove down the field and put the game out of reach on Morris’ 8-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes to play. Ward did not return with a knee injury, and Frostee Rucker left the game with an injured groin. Weeden finished the day 21-35 passing for 244 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Richardson ended up with only 28 yards rushing, though he did score two touchdowns. Cousins, on the other hand, was 26-37 passing for 329 yards, two touchdowns and one interceptions. 

End 3Q: Redskins 24, Browns 14—The Redskins offense looked comfortable moving the ball in the third quarter, and Weeden looked equally uncomfortable. Weeden threw two interceptions, and had a couple others batted down. The Redskins turned the first pick into an Alfred Morris touchdown run that gave Washington a 17-14 lead. Using the play-action pass, Cousins orchestrated a second scoring drive that was capped by a two-yard pass to Hankerson. Safety T.J. Ward left the field with a couple of minutes left in the quarter and walked to the locker room as the quarter ended. His return is questionable with a knee injury. 

End 2Q: Browns 14, Redskins 10—The Redskins took the lead on a 44-yard field goal by Kai Forbath with 5:46 left in the half. Brandon Weeden answered by hitting Josh Gordon on back-to-back first-down passes, and he then found Greg Little for 30 yards on a crossing pattern. Josh Cribbs lined up in the Wild Cat and carried the ball to the 7-yard line for a 16-yard gain, setting up a Trent Richardson 1-yard touchdown run, his second score of the day. Richardson appeared to score on the play before from the 3-yard line, but the play was reversed after a booth challenge. Brandon Weeden is 13-20 for 88 yards. Richardson has 28 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. 

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Browns seemingly catch huge break with rookie QB Kirk Cousins set to start for RG3

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 15, 2012

The Browns seem to have caught a huge break because the Washington Redskins announced tonight that standout quarterback Robert Griffin III is expected to be replaced in the starting lineup Sunday by fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.

“The decision was not my own,” Griffin wrote on Twitter. “But I will be there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can.”

The Browns (5-8) will host the Redskins (7-6) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Cleveland is hoping to capitalize on the switch at quarterback as it seeks a fourth consecutive victory.

Griffin, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, mildly sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee Dec. 9 in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens when he absorbed a hit from defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Cousins, a fourth round pick, then came to the rescue by throwing a touchdown pass and running for a two-point conversion to force overtime in the Redskins’ 31-28 triumph.

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Friday's Browns-Redskins injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 14, 2012

Injury report Dec. 14

Browns – Probable: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), WR Josh Cribbs (knee), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), LB James-Michael Johnson (thigh/finger), RG Shawn Lauvao (foot), DE Juqua Parker (knee), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger/illness), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder) and OT Joe Thomas (back).

Redskins – Questionable: LB London Fletcher (ankle), QB Robert Griffin III (knee) and OT Trent Williams (thigh). Probable: DT Chris Baker (wrist), CB Richard Crawford (knee), WR Pierre Garcon (foot), LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle), RB Alfred Morris (illness) and CB Josh Wilson (shoulder).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 14, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “I really don’t have much more to add from the week, but I’m sure you have a few questions so I’ll try to answer them for you.”

(On if there are a lot of similarities between London Fletcher and D’Qwell Jackson)- “I don’t know. I never really worked with London, but I will say this, I think watching them both work, it appears to me like those two guys do the same things for their team. I know how mature and how much of a leader D’Qwell is. It’s obvious to me that by watching them that London Fletcher does the same thing for their team.”

(On the job Tom Heckert has done putting this roster together)- “I just know that our team looks a lot different now than it did when I came here a couple years ago. We’re a lot better. Our roster is younger. We’ve added some explosive players on both sides of the football. Time will tell how good these young players are. Then it’s mixed in with some veteran guys that have been around here quite a while that have helped show leadership. As a coach looking at it, I feel much better about our team now than I did two years ago.”

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Browns LG Jason Pinkston hopes to play football again, has new outlook after health scare

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 14, 2012

Browns left guard Jason Pinkston was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 22 after doctors discovered he had a blood clot in his lung.

Pinkston, 25, met with reporters today and conducted his first interview with reporters since his season ended. He has been working out and plans to resume his football career.

Here is what Pinkston had to say:

On how he feels: "Feeling pretty good can't complain. Working out, playing basketball just waiting to get back to next year. Feeling good, no complaints. I feel normal, like nothing ever happened."

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Browns GM Tom Heckert discusses his uncertain future with franchise

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 14, 2012

With owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner in charge of the Browns, the future of General Manager Tom Heckert and other key members of the organization is uncertain.

Heckert met with reporters today to discuss his situation. Here are some of the highlights from the chat:

*Heckert said he believes he’ll learn his fate right after the season, but he insisted he doesn’t know what decision Haslam and Banner will make.

“I don't think I'd be surprised [if I'm back next year], but I really don't have an idea,” Heckert said. … “If things don't work out, I'm pretty confident I'll get a shot somewhere else.”

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Transcript from news conference with Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 13, 2012

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On if he worked on sliding yesterday with Brandon Weeden)- “It seems like he should slide better having been part of Major League Baseball. I’m told it’s because he played for American League teams (jokingly).”

(On how impressed he’s been with Robert Griffin III)- “I don’t know how you could not help but be impressed. I’m impressed by the things that they do on offense. (They) haven’t changed some of the stuff he did in college, and that it can be effective on this level. I think everybody probably poo-pooed that to start with. You see it ripping people up on Sundays.”

(On if the running quarterback is an option here)- “You have to have a gifted guy to run it I think, first of all. It’s just a matter of how long you want to play it until they draw a bead up on him and get a good shot on him.”

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Transcript from news conference with Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 13, 2012

Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On how tricky it is to stop the read-option that Robert Griffin III runs)- “It’s hard. They’re a very talented offensive football team with an extremely talented quarterback running the thing so it’s really difficult.”

(On if Washington can run the option because of Griffin’s unique skill set and why the read-option hasn’t shown up more in the NFL)- “I can tell you his skill set is unique. There’s no doubt about that. That’s why they drafted him where they drafted him and that’s why he’s had all the success he’s had. He’s an incredibly talented athlete, but I don’t know anything else about why it hasn’t shown up more.”

(On how much Griffin’s skill set translates to Alfred Morris’ success)- “I would say that the combination of the two of them together benefits each of them. They seem to have a good feel for what they’re trying to do, clearly, and they execute it really well and the running back is a huge part of it. I’ve never functioned in that offense, but I assumed the running back has to have a nice feel for that exchange all the time and a relationship with his quarterback. They do it extremely well and he runs well. He is a really committed runner. He doesn’t make a lot of bad reads. He hits the hole. He’s hard to tackle. They pose a lot of problems.”

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Thursday's Browns-Redskins injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 13, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 13

Browns – Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), DL Juqua Parker (knee) and OT Joe Thomas (back). Full participation in practice: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), LB James-Michael Johnson (thigh/finger), RG Shawn Lauvao (foot), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger) and DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder).

Redskins -- Limited participation in practice: LB London Fletcher (ankle), QB Robert Griffin III (knee) and OT Trent Williams (thigh). Full participation: DT Chris Baker (wrist), CB Richard Crawford (knee), WR Pierre Garcon (foot), LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle) and CB Josh Wilson (shoulder).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 13, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “I’ve got nothing really to add from yesterday other than the fact I’m glad the weather is reasonable. In the middle of December to be able to go outside, it’s been good. I think it’s always best for the players to be outside if, obviously, weather and temperatures permit.”

(On if he sees a growing sense of confidence in the young team)- “Yeah, I think there’s some confidence that you develop when you find a way to finish games. It only helps you though, if you continue to go through the process and use that confidence to remember that there were plenty of mistakes in the game and we’re all striving to play a perfect game. You’ve got to keep working at it.”

(On if the team has yet to play their best game)- “I hope we continue to play better each week. As a coach, that’s what you want. Yeah, I’m hopeful.”

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Wednesday's Browns-Redskins injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 12, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 12

Browns – Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (knee), DL Juqua Parker (knee) and OT Joe Thomas (back). Full participation in practice: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), LB James-Michael Johnson (thigh/finger), RG Shawn Lauvao (foot), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger) and DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder).

Redskins -- Did not participate in practice: LB London Fletcher (ankle). Limited participation in practice: QB Robert Griffin III (knee) and OT Trent Williams (thigh). Full participation: DT Chris Baker (wrist), CB Richard Crawford (knee), WR Pierre Garcon (foot), LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle) and CB Josh Wilson (shoulder).

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Browns' defense preparing as if it will face Redskins QB Robert Griffin III

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 12, 2012

Instead of getting caught up in a guessing game, the Browns are preparing as if they’re going to face standout rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III on Sunday when the Washington Redskins come to town.

Griffin, the second overall pick in this year's draft, tested his mildly sprained right knee in practice today, but his status for Sunday is not clear. If he doesn’t play, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins will start at quarterback for the Redskins.

“We truly are preparing as if [Griffin is] playing,” rookie free safety Tashaun Gipson said this afternoon following practice. “That’s the report out of this camp. [The injury] looked a lot worse than what the camp is saying. But you’ve got to respect what they’re saying. They’re saying he’s going to play. So definitely right now our main focus is preparing as if we’re going to see No. 10 [Griffin] out there.”

Gipson acknowledged it’s difficult to simulate Griffin’s skills in practice. Browns backup quarterback Colt McCoy is playing the role of Griffin in practice this week.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 12, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “You saw the news this morning, the AFC Player of the Week for special teams was Travis Benjamin. That’s a tremendous honor. I’m sure he’s happy to receive that as well as be a part of a winning effort. The fourth captain this week will be Josh Cribbs. I’ve talked about it numerous times, but I really appreciate Josh for his toughness. In a sport like football, a guy that’s tough, that’s the highest honor. He’ll be our fourth captain. Otherwise, we’re getting ready to play the Redskins. I could probably answer one of your questions. As we prepare to play the Redskins, who plays quarterback will not affect our preparation as we move forward. We have to prepare for their offense. It’s extremely important that we not try to look at what things are being said. They’ve got two fine quarterbacks, they are different in style in some ways, but their offense is very effective. They have elements of the drop-back passing game, they have elements of option football and, of course, their running game resembles in a lot of ways the off-tackle zone stuff that the Shanahan’s have always been known for. That’s what we have to prepare for as we move forward.”

(On who will simulate the opposing quarterback this week)- “Colt’s going to play the quarterback position for us. That’s who will do it. Let me just say this, I’m not sure we have that kind of speed on our team to simulate a player as talented as RGIII (Robert Griffin III) in terms of his just flat speed.”

(On if not having that type of speed on the team is a problem because you don’t see it until gameday)- “No, I think it’s what you go through any time you prepare for a tremendous player like RGIII.”

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Browns rookie Travis Benjamin named AFC Special Teams Player of Week, plus other notes

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 12, 2012

Browns rookie Travis Benjamin has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Benjamin, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown Sunday in the second quarter of the Browns’ 30-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“That’s a tremendous honor,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “I’m sure he’s happy to receive that as well as be a part of a winning effort.”

It was the longest punt return in franchise history, surpassing the previous record of 92 yards set by Eric Metcalf in 1994. It also was the first time a Browns rookie returned a punt for a touchdown since Ben Davis in 1967.

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Browns LB Scott Fujita cleared in Saints' bounty case

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 11, 2012

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated all player discipline in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal and exonerated Browns linebacker Scott Fujita.

Fujita, who’s on injured reserve with a potential career-ending neck injury, maintained his innocence all along. He said he paid teammates for making big plays, including sacks and interceptions, but never contributed to a pool that allegedly paid his former teammates for intentionally injuring opponents. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell accused Fujita of contributing funds to a pay-for-injury program when he gave him a three-game suspension in May.

The suspension was later reduced to one game, but Fujita wasn’t entirely cleared until Tagliabue issued his ruling today.

Tagliabue concluded it’s "undisputed" that Fujita only took part in a "non-injury" pay-for-performance pool. “I find his actions here were not conduct detrimental and vacate his suspension,” Tagliabue wrote in his decision.

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 10, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement) – “Let me get started. I kind of talked a lot yesterday. I think it was an outstanding team victory for us. I’ll start with special teams. Of course, Phil Dawson had a milestone game. He had his 300 and 301 field goals and he’s 26 of 27 this year. It’s hard to argue with that. He’s been an outstanding player around here for a long time. I did tell you he was a little freaked before the game because he told me that in every milestone game that he has had, the team hadn’t done so well. I assured him that it was going to be okay. I’m glad I was right. Then of course, the punt return by Travis Benjamin was an outstanding effort. Obviously, when you have a play like that, there are some terrific blocks, and then Travis had the skill and ability to make it count. Generally speaking, I thought our coverage units were really good. Our special teams, I think they’ve done an outstanding job this year, and we finally marked it with a big touchdown, so that was good. On defense of course we allowed seven points in 12 seconds, and then no more after that. This is about eliminating points, or keeping them from scoring and then scoring points. That was good. We had five sacks, four by defensive linemen. I think we controlled the run game for the most part. I credit the defensive coaches. I thought the coaches called an outstanding game in all three phases. It showed up and the players executed well. I think they ought to be commended. Offensively we scored 23 points and I think that’s important. We didn’t turn the ball over. I think we were plus eight in turnovers and that’s a huge contributing factor to winning. I talk about our young football team. I think we’ve had 72 starts by rookies. The next highest is 44, and I’m not sure what team that is. That’s good for the future because we’re finally starting to find out how to win football games with these young players, and I think that’s good. We had some other players that distinguished themselves in the game. Of course Josh Gordon had another productive game. I thought Greg Little played as well yesterday as he has played in all phases of playing receiver. Of course Montario Hardesty did a very nice job. I’m proud of how he’s handled himself this year and I think he has made the most of his opportunities. I think he did a nice job. There’s a lot going on. I’m sure you’ve got specific questions.”

(On if they will use the wishbone this week) – “No, I don’t think so. It’s funny; we got credit for being tricky. That reverse we ran to Travis Benjamin, we’ve run that play five times this year already. If you remember, we even had bigger success with it when we started the year against Philly with it. We tossed the ball to Greg Little last year a couple of times and then of course the two wildcat plays. I was waiting to see the reaction when they came out. We got a three yard gain and we almost scored a touchdown. Quite frankly, I challenged that play because I did think, based on the replay I saw, and of course the instruction from the press box that he got in. I also wanted Josh (Cribbs) to have a touchdown. I thought that was worth it. We saw when they got the ball to the three yard line, they didn’t score. It’s never a guarantee. When it’s that close I think it’s worth it at times.”

(On if trying new things is because he trusts his young players) – “Yeah I think so. I think when you’re breaking in a young bunch of guys, first and foremost, they’ve got to learn to line up and play. Then as time goes on you can do more things. We always have those things in our plan, there’s just sometimes where it’s not the right time to call them. We got some situations. We had third and long in the red zone and we knew they would play it soft. Actually that pitch to Greg Little was not a red zone play, but we figured it might be worth a shot. We ended up being pretty successful with it.”

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Browns sign TE/FB Brad Smelley to active roster, waive DT Ronnie Cameron

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 10, 2012

The Browns signed tight end/fullback Brad Smelley to their active roster and waived defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, the team announced today.

Smelley, a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft, spent the first 14 weeks of this season on the Browns’ practice squad. Smelley, a University of Alabama product, played in four preseason games and compiled two receptions for 21 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown.

Cameron spent eight weeks on the Browns’ practice squad and five weeks on their active roster. He did not play in any regular-season games this year.

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Game day blog: Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 14); Browns win 30-7

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 9, 2012

Final score: Browns 30, Chiefs 7 (game story; thumbs up/thumbs down; notebook; Marla Ridenour's column; Travis Benjamin's 93-yard punt return proved to be turning point)

End 4Q: Browns 30, Chiefs 7—The Browns put this one out of reach early in the fourth quarter. Trent Richardson punched in his second one-yard touchdown of the game to put the Browns up 27-7. Phil Dawson later added a 34-yard field goal to go up 30-7. Richardson finished the game with 42 yards and two touchdowns. Weeden was 17-30 passing for 217 yards. Josh Gordon had eight catches for 86 yards. It’s the Browns’ largest margin of victory since a 44-6 thrashing of the Cardinals in 2003. 

End 3Q: Browns 20, Chiefs 7—The Browns marched down the field on their first drive of the second half, led by a couple of Weeden passes and capped with a 1-yard Richarson touchdown in which he launched himself like a missile into the end zone. Tashaun Gipson then picked off Brady Quinn on a pass tipped by Sheldon Brown for his first interception of his career. The Browns had two touchdown plays called back on the penalties, the first an illegal motion call on Watson and Little and the second a pass interference call on Richardson. The Browns settled for a 24-yard field goal by Dawson to go up 20-7. At the end of the quarter. Weeden made a nice play by scrambling and finding Watson and third and long. Greg Little then lined up as a running back and carried the ball 17 yards to the 1-yard line. 

End 2Q: Browns 10, Chiefs 7—After the Chiefs scored on the first play of the first quarter, the Browns scored on the first play of the second quarter. Just before a Chiefs punt, Josh Cribbs, who lined up deep, and Travis Benjamin switched places at the last second. Benjamin then took the punt at the 7-yard line, charged up the middle and then down the Browns sideline for a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown to put the Browns up 10-7. It’s the longest punt return in Browns history, eclipsing Eric Metcalf’s 92-yarder against the Bengals in 1994. For the Chiefs, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe each left the game with rib injuries. Charles would return late in the half, but Bowe did not and his return is questionable. On a 3-yard run, Richardson pushed the pile and was then tackled by Shaun Smith, who then got into a scuffle with a few players from each side. 

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Saturday's Browns-Chiefs injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 8, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 8

Browns – Probable: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), TE Jordan Cameron (groin), WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest), LB James-Michael Johnson (finger), OT Ryan Miller (forearm), CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), S Ray Ventrone (calf) and FS Usama Young (concussion).

Chiefs – Out: S Abram Elam (quad). Questionable: OT Branden Albert (back), G Jeff Allen (illness), S Eric Berry (hand), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), G Russ Hochstein (back), LB Derrick Johnson (hamstring) and S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). Probable: LB Tamba Hali (knee) and C/G Ryan Lilja (knee).

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Friday's Browns-Chiefs injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 7, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 7

Browns – Probable: WR Travis Benjamin (finger), TE Jordan Cameron (groin), WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest), LB James-Michael Johnson (finger), OT Ryan Miller (forearm), CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), S Ray Ventrone (calf) and FS Usama Young (concussion).

Chiefs – Doubtful: S Abram Elam (quad). Questionable: OT Branden Albert (back), G Jeff Allen (illness), S Eric Berry (hand), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), G Russ Hochstein (back), LB Derrick Johnson (hamstring) and S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). Probable: LB Tamba Hali (knee) and C/G Ryan Lilja (knee).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 7, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “You guys have the release, Reggie Hodges, is our Ed Block Courage Award winner. Coming back from that Achilles, he’s done a nice job for us this year.”

(On the commissioner talking about eliminating kickoffs)- “It sounds like that’s a conversation already. Those tend to be offseason issues and I’ll put a little thought into that. Obviously, by moving the kickoff up, it’s eliminated quite a few balls being brought out. In fact, you’re seeing lots of the returners playing with their back foot on the back line just trying to get an opportunity to come out. It’s changed things already. I’m assuming it has made the game safer in some ways. It will be something we’ll discuss here in the offseason.”

(On Joshua Cribbs returning a kickoff from nine yards deep)- “I think what happens is they get very few opportunities to come out and they are playmakers. You see it across the league now where guys are trying to advance the football from almost near the back of the end line. You can’t score a touchdown if you don’t give it a shot. I would say if you get tackled inside the 20, that’s not good. Those guys that are returning those kicks need to use good judgment.”

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Thursday's Browns-Chiefs injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 6

Browns – Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest) and OT Ryan Miller (forearm). Full participation in practice: TE Jordan Cameron (groin), CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), S Ray Ventrone (calf) and FS Usama Young (concussion).

Chiefs – Did not participate in practice: S Eric Berry (hand), S Abram Elam (quad), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), LB Derrick Johnson (hamstring) and C/G Ryan Lilja (knee). Limited participation in practice: OT Branden Albert (back), LB Tamba Hali (knee) and S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). Full participation in practice: G Jeff Allen (illness).

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Transcript from news conference with Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 2012

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On if he is finally starting to tap into Josh Gordon’s potential) – “Are we starting to tap into it? Yeah, I would hope it’s the tip of the iceberg. I just see him getting more comfortable every week with what we’re doing. Not having to think, letting his God-given athletic ability kind of show itself.”

(On if he pays more attention to Gordon now than he did four weeks ago) – “I think everybody probably pays attention to him just from the standpoint of he’s been behind the defense a few times. You kind of want to know where that guys at and who is going to play in front or who you’re going to play over top of him.”

(On if Gordon is deceptively fast and if he runs with ease) – “He’s a long strider. He’s a build speed guy. (He is) Probably faster at 60 yards than he is at 40 yards just because of how his stride takes him. You probably got that right, he does run with ease.”

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Peyton Hillis responds to Browns Pro Bowler Joe Thomas, likening him to 'crazy ex-girlfriend'

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis, who played in Cleveland from 2010-11, responded to the comments made by Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas on Wednesday. Thomas accused Hillis of creating a “terrible distraction” last season by “going through a contract dispute and basically refusing to play.”

Hillis and the Chiefs (2-10) will visit the Browns (4-8) on Sunday.

Here’s what Hillis told the Kansas City Star in response to Thomas:

On Thomas’ comments: “It’s kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend. It's been over a year. Get over it. I guess when you get paid over 100 million dollars by one team, it's kind of easy to point the finger at other guys and try to hate on them for trying to get another contract.’’

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Transcript from news conference with Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 2012

Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(On Brian Daboll running trick plays and if they are prepared for that)- “You hope you’re prepared. It’s hard, he does a lot of very creative things on offense. We’ve certainly talked about it and will look at some of them, but you just don’t have time to prepare for every possible gadget play that people might run. Hopefully, like I said, we’ll be aware on Sunday. It’s hard, and they’re good. They do a nice job with it.”

(On if Dexter McCluster is their Wildcat quarterback)- “He is their Wildcat quarterback. I suppose he doesn’t necessarily have to be, but that’s what they’ve shown. It makes sense that he would be the guy.”

(On if the Chiefs use Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles as a change of pace)- “I think that’s exactly what they do. You know Peyton well. He’s a big powerful back, a really good downhill runner. He gets behind his pads. He’s hard to stop. Then Charles is just a great zone runner. They do a very nice job in their zone scheme. He’s a great runner in everything. In the zone scheme, he’s got the ability to stretch the defense and then put that one foot in the ground and make the cut. He’s got the speed to go the distance. He’s a big threat anytime in the course of the football game. It gives them a really good one-two punch.”

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “As you can tell by the injury report, we had a lot more guys out there starting our preparation for the Chiefs than we did, of course, getting ready for Oakland so that’s good. We’ll just see how we put the gameday roster together as Sunday rolls around.”

(On finally a healthy team)- “We’re healthier than we’ve been in the last couple of weeks, which is good. As always, the preparation has been good. We had a good start yesterday.”

(On if he is okay with a team captain speaking out about the past regarding Peyton Hillis)- “I would say this, I want to comment specifically on how things this year relate to this year’s game. I’d prefer my players say nothing, but I realize that that’s not the case. If you’ve got any questions or you guys want me to comment on anything as things relate to this year, I’d be happy to.”

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Wednesday's Browns-Chiefs injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 5, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 5

Browns – Limited participation in practice: WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest), S Ray Ventrone (calf) and FS Usama Young (concussion). Full participation in practice: TE Jordan Cameron (groin), CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger) and DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger).

Chiefs Did not participate in practice: G Jeff Allen (illness), DL Allen Bailey (ankle), S Abram Elam (quad), CB Brandon Flowers (hamstring), LB Derrick Johnson (hamstring) and C/G Ryan Lilja (knee). Limited participation in practice: OT Branden Albert (back), S Eric Berry (hand), LB Tamba Hali (knee) and S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder).

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Browns LT Joe Thomas rips former teammate Peyton Hillis, calls him 'terrible distraction'

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 5, 2012

Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas vented his frustration this afternoon when talking to reporters about his former teammate Peyton Hillis, who will visit Cleveland on Sunday as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hillis had a breakout season with the Browns in 2010 and then a dramatic one in 2011 that was plagued by injury, off-the-field distractions and a contract dispute.

Here's some of what Thomas had to say about Hillis: 

On Hillis being a distraction last season: "It was a terrible distraction. Crippled our offense because we ended up signing Obie off the street in the middle of the year and he ended up getting hurt. We were struggling to find anybody who could carry the ball after all the injuries we had. To have Peyton going through a contract dispute and basically refusing to play, it was a big distraction, but more than anything, because sometimes I think distractions are overrated, he was our starting running back that was a good player who was going to help us be a successful offense. When he’s not there and you don’t have anybody to turn to, it makes it hard to win. And that’s the distraction, it’s not being successful."

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 5, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening statement)- “We’ve got our preparation going for the Chiefs. This week’s fourth captain will be Mitchell Schwartz. He’s another good choice. Of course, when you go through our starting lineup we’ve got a lot of rookies and guys that have played a lot of football. Mitchell’s done a good job this year. I thought they chose wisely.”

(On if he has a personal relationship with Romeo Crennel)- “I’ve met Romeo a few times. I can’t say that I know him extremely well, although I do know this, I respect him a great deal. Everybody that does know him thinks he’s an outstanding human being, a great man and he’s obviously distinguished himself as an outstanding coach. That’s what I know about him.”

(On if his respect for Romeo Crennel has grown since their recent tragedy)- “There’s no question. I think in situations like this your character becomes revealed. Romeo revealed that he is an outstanding leader.”

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Browns FS Usama Young returns to practice after sitting out vs. Raiders with concussion

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 5, 2012

Browns free safety Usama Young returned to practice today after sitting out Sunday against the Oakland Raiders with a concussion.

Young, a Kent State product, suffered the concussion Nov. 25 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and did not practice last week. Barring a setback, Young could return to action Sunday when the Browns (4-8) host the Kansas City Chiefs (2-10).

The 6-foot, 200-pound Young has started nine of the 10 games in which he’s appeared this season. Undrafted rookie Tashaun Gipson started in place of Young in the Browns’ 20-17 win over the Oakland Raiders. He played all 73 of the defensive snaps and finished with a team-high eight tackles.

Coach Pat Shurmur likes what he has seen from Gipson, who rotated with Young at free safety at times this season.

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Transcript from conference call with Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel

By Marla Ridenour Published: December 5, 2012

Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel, now directing the Kansas City Chiefs, spoke to members of the local media Wednesday. Many of the questions dealt with Saturday's tragedy in which linebacker Javon Belcher murdered his girlfiend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their 3-month-old daughter Zoey, then committed suicide in front of Crennel, GM Scott Pioli and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs in the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium.

Q: Hey, what’s going on?

A: I’m doing good, guys. You know what, it’s a tough situation to have to work through and go through, but we’re trying to work through it and move forward as best we can. And the players, they’ve been really good about leaning on each other and trying to help each other and the coaching staff the same way. And all of those guys have done a nice job getting us through this. And then we’re going to get through it and then concentrate on football as best we can.

Q: What did you draw from to get you through this personally?

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Transcript from conference call with Chiefs QB Brady Quinn

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 5, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn discussed his team’s effort to cope with the recent murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher during a conference call this morning with local media. The Chiefs (2-10) will visit the Browns (4-8) on Sunday. Here is a transcript from the conference call with Quinn, a first-round draft pick of the Browns in 2007:

How are you?: “Hanging in there.”

How difficult was past week?: “It was extremely difficult. Really shocking at first, then there’s a lot of sadness for the entire situation. We lost a friend, a teammate, a family member to us. There was a tragedy that takes place where a mother is gone now and there’s a little girl who’s without two parents. When you in some way try to put it in perspective, it’s hard to really get a grasp of the gravity of the situation.”

What has coach Romeo Crennel’s leadership meant?: “It was huge. He was that steady rock in the midst of everything. He was witnessing it, so he knew he had to put it on himself to be the guy to mentally communicate what had happened to us, but also at the same time lead us because there was going be so many emotions involved and a lot of guys searching and looking around to see how they should respond.”

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Highlights from premiere of 'NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns'

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 4, 2012

A documentary series featuring the Browns premiered tonight on Travel Channel. Below are some highlights from the first episode of NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns, so stop reading if you’ve set your DVR and don’t want to know what happens.

What stood out?: Early in the episode, new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is introduced to the audience. He met with Cleveland fans outside MetLife Stadium before the Browns faced the New York Giants on Oct. 7 and talked to Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown before the Browns hosted the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 28. After the Browns defeated the Chargers 7-6, coach Pat Shurmur said, “We’ve got a new owner. Jimmy Haslam, this one’s for you.” Shurmur then tossed Haslam a game ball, and the Tennessee billionaire leaned over to catch the pass. It was the Browns' first win since NFL owners unanimously approved Haslam's purchase of the team on Oct. 16. … Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and rookie running back Trent Richardson attended the Cavaliers’ season opener on Oct. 30. They chatted with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who assured the first-round draft picks that they would love Cleveland sports fans. “They’re loyal, they’re hard working, they’re great people,” Gilbert said. “I mean you couldn’t ask for anything better.” … Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar presented a signed photo of deceased soldier Cory Endlich to the latter’s parents during a halftime ceremony when the Browns hosted the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 4. The Endlichs, die-hard Browns fans, were overwhelmed with emotion.

What did we learn?: Mike Thatcher, a 66-year-old retired salesman, is an equipment assistant for the Browns. His other claim to fame is his role in a classic film, The Shawshank Redemption. He played a prison guard. … Kicker Phil Dawson said he takes about six pairs of kicking shoes and “a ton” of plant shoes to each game. … Each NFL team brings its own footballs to games, 12 for the quarterback and 12 for the kicker, which are specially treated to the liking of Weeden and Dawson. … While out to dinner with backup quarterback Colt McCoy and his wife, Rachel, Dawson and his wife, Shannon, revealed that they use hand signals to communicate during games when he’s on the field and she’s in the stands.

Quotable: “He’s not bashful. He has a mind of his own, but he can also listen. So that’s not a bad combination.” – Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown on Browns owner Jimmy Haslam

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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Pat Shurmur

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 3, 2012

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

(Opening Statement)- “Going back on the game yesterday, I think for the second week in a row, we found a way to win a game that was hard fought. Each game, you find a way to either win the game or lose the game. I’m happy for our guys. There were some significant things that happened. I’ll start on defense first. I thought we were opportunistic on defense. I thought for the most part we controlled the running game, which was important. They went into a kind of no-huddle phase where they kind of picked away at us a little bit, but then you saw there at the end of the game Sheldon Brown had an interception. I think that helped spark us to finish the game, which was outstanding. Sheldon, for the most part, I thought played extremely well. For the most part on defense, when you limit scoring like we did, forget yardage, forget all that stuff, when you limit scoring in the meat of the game there, I think that’s the most important thing and we got turnovers. I thought we did a nice job with penalties. We only had two penalties. We had a holding call and then of course we had the one on special teams when Buster (Skrine) ran into the returner. It was an aggressive play. I thought that was good. On special teams we wanted to be perfect in field goals. That’s no longer there for us. We got a little bit of a push there. We were kicking in a sloppy area and there’s no excuse for any of it, but they got a little push, we couldn’t dig in quite as well as we’re used to doing and they made a play. They made a play on us. There’s not much there other than that. In terms of the offense, I think we had the most yards we’ve had in a long time. The two interceptions, of course you’d like to have those back. We got good production from eight receivers, which was good. [There were] no drops to speak of which was good. I thought Trent Richardson had a steady game as a runner and then we saw the little spark that (Montario) Hardesty gave us by bringing him in the football game. We had guys doing things that were good. Then of course, a lot of conversation about the last 94-yard drive, which was great. In that drive Brandon (Weeden) was five for six. We ran the ball effectively. At the end of the game there, by putting the ball in the end zone it creates a two-score game, which just absolutely changes it for the opponent. I think that was important. Had we kicked a field goal, we all know the numbers, it would have been six. Then all our hearts would have been going like this (hits chest). I think that’s an important thing. That’s a lot. That’s usually more than I say, but I’m happy that our guys found a way to win. I’m proud of our coaches and players for understanding the opportunity to go out there and win a second game in a row, do it on the road against a tough opponent in my opinion. I think you’ve got to quit looking at records when you talk about who’s good and who’s bad. Anybody can win each weekend in the NFL. Now the challenge will be to get back into the process and get ready to play the Chiefs.”

(On what he hopes the 94-yard drive does for the offense’s confidence)- “Anytime you do something once, then you become confident that you can do it again. If you’re not getting that part done, then of course you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop or we’re going to screw something up, all that stuff. You get beyond it by doing it and I think that’s where the confidence comes in. Hopefully we can repeat it as we move forward.”

(On if he thinks this team has turned the corner in the last couple weeks)- “I don’t know about turning the corner. That’s a good question. What I do know is we beat a quality opponent at home last week and we went on the road and won a game on the road. Now, what we’ve got to do is try to build on that. I think for the most part, we’ve got a pretty healthy team and we’ve got a lot of young players that are getting better. I’ve mention this throughout the year, when you’re working with young players and only time will tell how good they can be, you see guys improve. I think that’s a good thing.”

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Game day blog: Browns at Oakland Raiders (Week 13)

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 2, 2012

Final score: Browns 20, Raiders 17 (game story; notebook; thumbs up/thumbs down; box score)

Inactives: Browns – cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle), free safety Usama Young (concussion), running back Brandon Jackson, special-teams ace Ray Ventrone (calf), defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, guard Jarrod Shaw and wide receiver Josh Cooper. Notes: Patterson will miss his seventh consecutive game since suffering a high-ankle sprain and torn ligament Oct. 7 against the New York Giants. Young is out after suffering a concussion last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ventrone has missed three games in a row after hurting his calf in practice. Nov. 15. Cooper is a healthy scratch for the second week in a row. Raiders – running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (ankles), linebacker Rolando McClain (suspended), guard Lucas Nix, offensive tackle Willie Smith, defensive end Jack Crawford (toe) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring). Notes: McFadden and Goodson are out for the fourth consecutive game with high-ankle sprains. Seymour is sidelined for the fourth game in a row.

Lineup changes: Browns – rookie Tashaun Gipson will start at free safety in place of Young. Raiders – Marcel Reece will start at running back in place of McFadden. Owen Schmitt will start at fullback in place of Reece. Desmond Bryant will start at defensive tackle in place of Seymour. Omar Gaither will start at middle linebacker in place of McClain, whom the Raiders suspended for two games for conduct detrimental to the team.

Storylines by George Thomas: 1. The Oakland Raiders endured one of the worst months in franchise history, going 0-4 in November. The Browns are 4-3 against the Raiders since the return of the franchise in 1999, but the Raiders are dangerous as a desperate team. Given the fact that two players were booted during the Raiders’ last game against the Cincinnati Bengals, frustration could be setting in for Oakland. Quarterback Carson Palmer said this is a team that wants to find a way to win. It won’t be a pushover. 2. Will Brandon Weeden be sufficiently recovered from the mild concussion he suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers? He returned to practice Wednesday but still had to make a five-plus-hour flight to the Bay Area to face the Raiders. Weeden’s play in general has been a question mark. Although the interception for a touchdown he tossed against the Steelers wasn’t his fault, he also struggled to get the Browns into the end zone against the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys. He knows it. Last week, he said that his completion percentage needs improvement. 3. This is one of those games in which Weeden and the offense can bloody an opposing defense’s nose. The Raiders defense spent November being victimized by opposing offenses, giving up 169 points in the four-game span. The defense ranks 28th against the rush, 24th against the pass and 25th overall. It has only 13 sacks. The Browns have struggled in the red zone for much of the season and will need to be better against the Raiders. 4. After breaking a drought against the Steelers, the Browns take aim at a 12-game losing streak on the road. The Browns, if nothing else, have been a team on the verge of a lot of things, including road victories. They came closest against the Cowboys three weeks ago, but couldn’t close the deal. It’s the sign of a young team and something that Weeden would like to change. “We want to go on the road and win just to get the monkey off our backs,” he said. “We’ve come down to the wire on the road a couple of times. It’s all about finishing.” There would be a certain symmetry to ending the streak in Oakland considering it began with the Raiders in October 2011.

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Browns employee commits suicide at team facility

By Nate Ulrich and Jason Lloyd Published: December 2, 2012

A Browns employee commited suicide Saturday, the team confirmed this morning.

The employee, who was a member of the grounds crew, hanged himself inside a storage shed at the team's facility on Saturday in Berea, the Cuyahoga County coroner confirmed to WEWS Newschannel 5 in Cleveland.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer first reported the incident on Fox’s NFL Sunday pregame show. Glazer said the incident occurred Saturday, right around the same time Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend at a residence and then himself at the Chiefs’ facility.

The Browns issued a statement via email.

"This is a terrible tragedy and our heartfelt condolences go out to [his] family. [He] was a good friend and colleague, and an outstanding employee. He will be missed by everyone in the Cleveland Browns organization.”

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Saturday's Browns-Raiders injury report

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 1, 2012

Injury report for Dec. 1

Browns – Out: CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), S Ray Ventrone (calf) and FS Usama Young (concussion). Questionable: WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder/chest) and FS Eric Hagg (illness). Probable: CB Johnson Bademosi (hip/shin), TE Jordan Cameron (groin), RG Shawn Lauvao (arm), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), FB Alex Smith (chest/ribs), SS T.J. Ward (knee), QB Brandon Weeden (concussion) and WR Greg Little (knee).

Raiders Out: DE Jack Crawford (toe), LB Rolando McClain (not injury related) and DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring). Questionable: RB Mike Goodson (ankle) and RB Darren McFadden (ankle). Probable: S Tyvon Branch (neck), RB Taiwan Jones (ankle), QB Carson Palmer (right thumb) and FB Marcel Reece (hamstring/quadricep).

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