BEREA — When the Browns were recruiting Jarvis Landry in free agency last winter, he didn’t know much about them.
The wide receiver grew up in Louisiana, played college ball at LSU and spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
He has learned much more about the Browns while giving them 76 catches for 874 yards in their turnaround season. Yet, he made it all the way to the season finale without realizing one key point in Cleveland history.
That is, Sunday’s opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, were the Browns from 1946 through 1995.
Landry said after Thursday’s practice he honestly hadn’t known until someone brought it up in the locker room
“So … it’s the Cleveland Ravens?” he said. “So, really, the Cleveland team became the Baltimore Ravens?”
The sad fact: Yes. And plenty of Browns fans would take great delight in the expansion reincarnation of the Browns winning at Baltimore on Sunday to go 2-0 against the 2018 Ravens.
Landry’s prior lack of awareness underscores just how long it has been since “the move.” He was 2 years old when owner Art Modell confirmed the move during the 1995 season.
He was in college when the Ravens won their second Super Bowl. (Landry got a sour expression on his face, acknowledging the cruel joke it must have been for Browns fans to watch the Ravens win those titles.)
Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens gave Landry a pass. Kitchens said coaches are treating this not as a grudge match but as a game the Browns must win to end the season on their terms.
Kitchens knows the Cleveland-Baltimore history. He was an Alabama quarterback in 1995 when the original Browns played their last season and in 1996 when the Ravens “debuted.” Current Alabama coach Nick Saban was a Browns defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick not long before the move.
“I know I am from Alabama, but I loved the [Browns] ever since back in the mid-'80s when Bernie [Kosar] was playing,” Kitchens said. “I really loved the Dawg Pound.”
Kitchens was wearing a Dawg Pound sweatshirt. He said the Ravens can wear whatever they want.
“We’re treating them as a bunch of gray faces,” he said.
Denzel Ward still out
Cornerback Denzel Ward missed another practice and is likely to miss his third game in the Browns’ last four outings.
Ward is in concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday in advance of Sunday’s season finale. The rookie No. 4 overall draft pick did not play in recent games against the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos (both wins). He made it back for Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals but had to leave the game.
Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), center JC Tretter (ankle) and linebacker Tanner Vallejo (hamstring) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. They were limited participants.
Coaching search update
A reunion between Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield does not appear to be on the horizon.
Although Riley has been linked to the Browns' head coaching vacancy, he reiterated Thursday he has no plans to take a leap to the NFL soon.
"I can’t tell you how I’m gonna feel in 10 years, but no, not right now," Riley said when asked about his interest in coaching in the league, according to the New York Post. "If I wasn’t at one of the elite programs in the country, maybe, but no, I’m very happy where I’m at right now.
"If it was 20, 30 years ago, where there were some major differences, maybe. … The way the college game has evolved, financially it’s a lot better situation now when you compare it to NFL teams. We’re at a place where we’re happy, and we don’t take that for granted. I love coaching at Oklahoma, love coaching college football."
Riley explained recruits have asked him about his future.
"I was very upfront, said what I’ve said the 15 times I’ve been asked about it since," Riley said. "I told them the truth. I told them I love where I’m at right now, and I don’t have that itch right now, and I fully plan on being at Oklahoma."
— Nate Ulrich
• Browns safety Damarious Randall said the Browns are bracing themselves for all of the running rookie Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is likely to do.
"He is very elusive," Randall said. "He is a very tough runner. He is a very difficult cover. You have seen they have been the No. 1 rushing offense since he has taken over at quarterback, and they are 5-1."
• Gregg Williams says the Browns look ready for the finale: "They were chirpy. Moving around pretty good. Competing really well. It was a really solid practice," Williams said.
• Willie Snead, who was cut by the Browns late in the 2014 preseason, leads the Ravens with 61 receptions.