BEREA — An eerie silence fell over Browns practice Monday while defensive end Chad Thomas lay in the end zone.
All of the action in the 14th session of training camp came to a screeching halt at about 11:45 a.m.
His teammates stood nearby as medical personnel examined him, immobilized him on a backboard stretcher and carted him off the field.
Shortly after practice, a Browns spokesman shared a fortunate update with media, saying Thomas had feeling and movement in all of his extremities and had been taken to University Hospitals to be further evaluated.
By 5 p.m., the spokesman said Thomas had returned to team headquarters after being diagnosed with a neck sprain. His return to practice status will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis, and he'll likely travel with the Browns when they leave town Tuesday for joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts in Westfield, Indiana, the spokesman said.
Weighing in on Twitter, Thomas wrote at 5:19 p.m., "Can't text or call errbody but I'm good. Put some dirt on that s***."
After briefly reviewing practice film, coach Freddie Kitchens said Thomas, a third-round pick in last year's draft, absorbed a hit on the side of his shoulder.
"Anytime something happens like a stinger or any issues like that, you want to be more cautious than anything, and that's what we're doing," Kitchens said after practice when Thomas was still at the hospital.
Thomas walked around after the play before resting on a knee and then winding up on the ground.
"We kind of saw him moving around out there, so we were hoping it wasn’t too serious," left guard Joel Bitonio said. "But anytime they bring the stretcher out and put someone down, it's great to hear that he's moving and they're just doing extra steps now to make sure he is OK."
Kitchens acknowledged a serious, frightening scene like the one involving Thomas, 23, tends to drain the energy from practice.
"It does, but in our game, that's reality," he said. "Sometimes that happens during the course of a game and mentally we've got to keep moving forward. At the end of the day, this is still practice, so you don't want to see your teammate laying there."
Later in practice, Kitchens brought the players together to discuss what happened to Thomas.
"We talked about how obviously it’s unfortunate and it’s hard to witness, but we’ve got to keep the energy at practice the same, we’ve got to pick it up," wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. "And I think we finished practice pretty well despite that.
"It’s never a moment at any point in time in any sport — or in anything — that’s a sight that anybody wants to see. Chad’s in our prayers."
Landry made it clear he has the back of Antonio Callaway in the aftermath of the NFL suspending the second-year Browns receiver last week for four regular-season games because he violated the league's substance-abuse policy.
"He already has his support system. He continues to grow with that," Landry said. "As players, we stand behind Antonio. We’re here for him. Whenever he wants to talk, we talk to him. It’s just the relationship that we have, and everybody goes through things. We need people to be there for him, and we’re there for him."
Landry said he's "absolutely" hopeful Callaway can turn everything around.
"The kid has all the abilities," Landry said. "He has all of the tools to be a guy that can make plays at a high level. He has the speed, the catching ability, the route-running, all of those things. If we can get that all together, he’s going to be a hell of a player."
Right guard update
Eric Kush served as the first-team right guard for the sixth consecutive practice and also filled the role in Thursday's preseason opener, a 30-10 win over Washington at FirstEnergy Stadium. He's the clear leader in a competition against 2018 second-round selection Austin Corbett and Kyle Kalis, who's in concussion protocol.
"He has some game experience," Bitonio said. "He played a little bit more in the game [against Washington], and he showed some good stuff. He's a good pass protector, he works hard and he has a great attitude every day. He comes and he has fun with it and he loves playing the game of football. But he's done well so far."
• Kendall Lamm replaced left tackle Greg Robinson with the first-team offense late in practice, but Kitchens said Robinson was not injured. "It was just Greg had to redo something with his tape or something on the thumb," Kitchens said. "... Everything is fine. It was just the tape job. It was nothing."
• Tight end David Njoku (knee) joined the list of injured players who worked out beside the field during practice.
• Those who remained idle were receivers Callaway (high-ankle sprain) and Damion Ratley (hamstring), Kalis (concussion), cornerbacks TJ Carrie (hamstring) and Tavierre Thomas (hamstring), tight end Seth DeValve (concussion), defensive end Jarrell Owens (groin) and defensive tackle Brian Price (concussion).
• Defensive end Anthony Zettel (ankle) returned to practice.
• Rookie safety Sheldrick Redwine returned to practice after missing Saturday's session for a personal reason. He made an appearance with the first-team defense.
• Greg Joseph made all six of his attempts in a field-goal drill (33, 37, 40, 28, 43 and 46 yards). Rookie fifth-round pick Austin Seibert went 5-of-6, missing wide right from 43 yards.
• The entire starting defensive line participated in team drills for the first time in a while, with tackle Sheldon Richardson rejoining the group.
• A play after right tackle Chris Hubbard nearly fell into quarterback Baker Mayfield's legs, Mayfield connected with receiver Rashard Higgins for a touchdown of about 50 yards. Cornerback Denzel Ward fell as he covered Higgins.
• With the offense backed up against the goal line, defensive end Myles Garrett got past Kush and rushed Mayfield, who responded to the pressure by fumbling out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
• Free safety Damarious Randall had an interception in a seven-on-seven drill. Rookie cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. had an interception in a team drill.
• Kitchens said he could "definitely" envision the Browns going without a fullback on the 53-man roster.
• Three life-size cardboard cutouts of linebacker Christian Kirksey were placed atop a second row of bleachers, where 18 youth football players from the East Cleveland Chiefs sat.
• The Browns drafted Mack Wilson two rounds later than fellow rookie linebacker Sione Takitaki, but Wilson still jokes with Takitaki about being the better player because Wilson attended a football powerhouse at the University of Alabama and Takitaki went to Brigham Young University. "I was like, 'Taki, if you would've come to 'Bama, you probably would've never played,' " Wilson quipped.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.