BEREA — Terrance Mitchell will be back just in time because the Browns are expected to be shorthanded at cornerback Sunday.
Mitchell suffered a broken right wrist Sept. 30 against the Oakland Raiders, landed on injured reserve and had surgery. After missing eight games, he's eligible to play again this weekend, when the Browns (4-7-1) host the Carolina Panthers (6-6).
"It was more like therapeutic," Mitchell said of his absence Wednesday. "It's however you look at it. It kind of helped me, honestly, appreciate the game a lot more."
Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward is in concussion protocol and will likely sit out against the Panthers. He suffered a concussion in Sunday's 29-13 loss to the Houston Texans and remained idle Wednesday.
So the Browns need Mitchell to pick up where he left off.
"If Terrance comes back and plays like he did in the first couple games of the season, it’ll be a huge boost," linebacker Joe Schobert said.
Mitchell practiced the past two weeks after the Browns designated him to return from IR.
"He can come in and play, so we'll see," interim coach Gregg Williams said. "We're waiting to see how it goes the rest of the week. This was really the first active, really get-after-it [practice]. The last two weeks, we have been wanting to make sure that we were not setting him back."
Mitchell and Ward opened the season as the team's starting cornerbacks. Mitchell compiled 19 tackles, one interception, two other passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery before he was sidelined in Week 4. He said he'll wear protective gear on his surgically repaired wrist Sunday.
"It’s always good to get another dominant cornerback out there," said cornerback TJ Carrie, who'll likely start opposite Mitchell against the Panthers.
With the Heisman Trophy ceremony set for Saturday night, Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield reflected on winning the award last year.
"Just to be invited, honestly, was an unbelievable experience," Mayfield said. "To go on stage after they call your name, it's a feeling that you can’t really describe.
"You're sitting there in front of the stage looking at all of the past Heisman winners, guys you have seen highlights of for years. You played the NCAA Football game on PlayStation or Xbox and you have watched those guys. It's something you could only dream of, and to be up there, it's a lot of fun."
So where does Mayfield keep the trophy?
"My parents' house on the dining room table," he replied. "Dad uses it as a paper holder. He tips his coffee into it every morning. Sadly, that's what he does."
'Pops' still kicking
Mike Adams was "old" when he played the last of his five seasons in Cleveland. Even then, his nickname was "Pops."
Who knew the gregarious safety out of Delaware would still be kicking, coming to Cleveland as a Carolina mainstay seven seasons after logging his last down for the Browns?
Adams will be playing in his 227th NFL (including eight in postseasons) Sunday.
The Browns gave him his longest playing shift (76 games over five seasons), followed by the Indianapolis Colts (47 games), San Francisco 49ers (38), Denver Broncos (36) and Panthers (29).
Adams appeared in 15 games for the Browns' winningest team of the expansion era, the 2007 squad that went 10-6.
Recently, Adams told writers in Charlotte that his career was supposed to have been over after he suffered a serious injury at Delaware.
"I spent nights in my room crying by myself, trying to figure out why it happened," Adams said.
Now he is going on 38, leading the Panthers in defensive downs (753, to Luke Kuechly's 748), and ranking third on the team with 67 tackles.
"Mike Adams is tremendous," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said recently. "He fits very well into our locker room. He stepped up and has become that group leader, the elder statesman.
"I sit there and wish, ‘God, I wish I had gotten that guy five or six years ago.’ "
In the league since going undrafted in 2004, Adams never landed a big contract. According to spotrac.com, his career earnings for 17 years are about $22 million, including $2.1 million this season.
— Steve Doerschuk
• The following Browns players didn't practice Wednesday: Ward, center JC Tretter (ankle), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), running back Duke Johnson (personal reason), cornerback Phillip Gaines (knee) and guard/center Austin Corbett (foot).
• Ogunjobi is awaiting a second opinion on his injury. "The big thing is just waiting for the final little thing with the doctors, what he's talking through with them and where we are," Williams said, "and then we'll be off and running because he's a tough dude."
• Williams said Johnson had an excused absence from practice and expects him to return Thursday.
• The NFL suspended defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale for four games without pay for violating its policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Ekuale was moved from the Browns' practice squad to the reserve/suspended by commissioner list. The Browns signed rookie offensive lineman Mason Gentry and wide receiver Daniel Williams to their practice squad.
• Ward (268,092 votes) is leading all AFC North cornerbacks in Pro Bowl fan voting. And Britton Colquitt (127,866 votes) is leading all NFL punters.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.