The Browns signed free agent tight end Michael Gaines Wednesday to bolster the team's banged-up group of tight ends. They also added rookie Colin Cloherty to the practice squad.
Browns veteran tight end Steve Heiden, who was inactive last week for the first time this season, could be feeling some residual effects from the major knee injury he suffered last season in a game against Philadephia on Dec. 15th. Heiden had surgery to repair his ACL shortly afterwards.
In addition, Robert Royal has played with a finger injury since preseason and suffered a hamstring injury Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Gaines was originally signed by Carolina in the seventh round of the 2004 draft, and played three seasons with the Panthers before being released in Sept. 2007. Since then, he has logged playing time with Buffalo (2007), Detroit (2008) and briefly with Chicago this season.
Over his six-year career, Gaines has 79 receptions for 810 yards with five touchdowns in 74 games (41 starts).
Cloherty, a Brown University product, was released from the Colts practice squad on Sept. 29.