BEREA: Browns running back Jerome Harrison's eyes light up at the thought of playing the Cincinnati Bengals, the team against which he racked up 121 yards on 29 carries in a 23-20 overtime loss at Cleveland Browns Stadium in October.
First, the 5-foot-9, 205-pound Harrison will have to make sure he's active for Sunday's rematch.
After posting his first 100-yard career rushing game against the Bengals, Harrison was limited to a combined 21 carries and just 73 yards in the next five games.
Worse, Harrison (drafted by the Browns in the fifth round in 2006 out of Washington State) was inactive last week for the second time this season, apparently benched in favor of newcomer Chris Jennings.
Harrison hinted to the local media he was not happy being active but not getting a single handoff after the Nov. 16 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Browns coach Eric Mangini and Harrison recently took time to sit down and clear the air.
''Jerome is live for every game,'' Mangini said. ''All three of those backs are. I had a good conversation with Jerome last week. I anticipate him having a good week of practice.''
Mangini is a stickler for good practice every day throughout the week, looking for Harrison, Jennings and veteran Jamal Lewis to push each other competitively.
''We'll see how the week goes from a special-teams perspective, from a numbers perspective,'' Mangini said.Patching things up Mangini said he cleared the air with Lions coach Jim Schwartz after Mangini accused the Lions of faking injuries to slow down the Browns' no-huddle offense during a 38-37 loss Sunday at Ford Field. According to the official play-by-play, the game was stopped on six occasions for injuries to five different Lions defenders, all of whom later returned to the game. Schwartz responded Monday to the accusations, saying Mangini was ''way out of bounds on that one.'' They discussed the situation by telephone. ''I talked to Jim for a while,'' Mangini said Wednesday. ''We cleared the air. I like Jim, we've always had a good relationship, so we talked through that. The bottom line is we didn't do enough in the game. Jim and I are fine.'' Mangini and Schwartz began their NFL careers in Cleveland under Bill Belichick, Schwartz coming in in 1993 and Mangini a year later in 1994. When Mangini was asked about making excuses for a loss when the Browns blew a 24-3 first-quarter lead, he said, ''It wasn't trying to shy away from accountability. At the end of the game, we're accountable for losing. That's me, that's the coaches, that's the players. ''I think I was frustrated with the situation and probably expressed that more than I probably should have. We had plenty of opportunities to win the game and we didn't.'' Roster moves The Browns were awarded linebacker Matt Roth off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday. Roth originally was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round (46th overall) in 2005 out of Iowa. In five seasons with the Dolphins, Roth has played in 64 games (23 starts), totaling 158 tackles, 12.5 sacks, five passes defended and six forced fumbles. Roth took the roster spot of linebacker Josh Stamer, who was released by the Browns on Tuesday. Injury report The Browns had four players sidelined for practice Wednesday, including fullback Lawrence Vickers, who injured a hamstring in Sunday's loss, offensive lineman Rex Hadnot (knee), defensive lineman Shaun Rogers (ankle) and tight end Robert Royal (thigh, finger). For the Bengals, halfback Cedric Benson (hip), wide receiver Laveranues Coles (chest), linebacker Rey Maualuga (foot) and defensive tackle Domata Peko (knee) missed practice.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at sstorm @thebeaconjournal. Beacon Journal sports writer Marla Ridenour contributed to this report.