BEREA: Patrick Murray bounced back from a serious knee injury and outdueled incumbent Travis Coons this summer on his way to winning the Browns’ kicking job.
Murray was the last kicker standing Monday after the Browns cut Coons.
Asked if Murray is the regular-season kicker or if that’s still to be determined, coach Hue Jackson said, “He is our kicker, and we are going to move forward with him.”
Murray prevailed after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament last summer.
“There was never a doubt in my mind that I could continue to play at this level,” Murray said. “I was very fortunate to have an amazing support system around me to help me through that process. I guess it makes it that much sweeter to come back.”
As an undrafted rookie from Fordham, Murray kicked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 and made 20-of-24 field goals and all 31 extra points. But in 2015 he suffered a torn ACL in the Bucs’ third preseason game against the Browns. The Bucs waived him in May after they drafted kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round. The Browns signed Murray on June 9.
This preseason, Murray has made both of his field goals and both of his extra points. Coons made his lone field goal but missed his only extra point. Murray was also superior in training camp.
“The opportunities that I was given [in practice], I made the most of them,” Murray said.
Murray believes two factors will serve him well during the upcoming season: confidence gained from his season of NFL experience and a track record of playing in adverse weather.
Murray has yet to meet former Browns Pro Bowl kicker Phil Dawson, but he hopes to preserve Dawson’s tradition of excellent kicking on the lakefront.
“I’m up for the challenge,” Murray said. “I respect Phil. In my opinion, he’s a hall of fame kicker, and I hope to live up to the expectation of kickers in Cleveland.”
The Browns waived nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams as part of Monday’s cuts to 75 players.
The separation was foreshadowed by controversy.
On Aug. 16, the Browns suspended Williams for two weeks and fined him over a disagreement about the health of his right ankle. He appealed.
The Browns thought he should’ve played in the Aug. 12 preseason opener in Green Bay, but he refused. The team said Williams claimed he’d retire.
His agent said a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic told Williams on Aug. 17 he needs surgery to have bone spurs removed from the ankle. The Browns contend Williams didn’t mention the injury until the day after the exhibition opener.
“I really don’t want to get into that,” Jackson said when asked why Williams was cut.
Williams, 25, had been productive for the Browns the past two seasons after signing with them as an undrafted free agent in 2014. But trade-acquisition Jamar Taylor, 25, surpassed him in camp.
Let them play
Jackson said the Browns’ starters will play when they face the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We’re going to play our guys. I feel comfortable that we need to play our starters on both sides of the ball,” Jackson said. “Now how much they play, that’s yet to be determined by me. But I think we’re going to play them because I think we need to play.”
Sticking with him
Jackson said veteran cornerback Tramon Williams, 33, is part of the team’s plans moving forward. Taylor recently leapfrogged Williams, who’s scheduled to make $6.2 million in 2016. He sat out Monday’s practice with an injured toe.
“I’m excited about him. He’s a pro,” Jackson said. “I like what he’s done, and obviously we need to get him more opportunities out there on the field.”
Rookie wide receiver Ricardo Louis (hamstring) and rookie cornerback Trey Caldwell (hamstring) returned to practice Monday.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert (concussion) did not practice. Tramon Williams, wide receiver Marlon Moore (hip pointer) and running back Raheem Mostert (hamstring) rode stationary bikes on the side of the field, but didn’t practice.
•?Jackson isn’t worried about his team being winless in the preseason. “If this was going on my tombstone, I’d be concerned about it. It’s not,” he said.
•?Jackson on trading former No. 6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo to the New England Patriots last week: “It was the right move for everybody involved. Mingo here, some things weren’t happening for him. ... I really enjoyed my time with him, but we didn’t see a fit for him.”
•?Jackson on Jordan Poyer and rookie Derrick Kindred rotating at first-team free safety Friday opposite strong safety Ibraheim Campbell: “We’re beginning to feel comfortable with three guys that can go in there and play, and we’ll determine who the starters are pretty soon.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.