BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Piece by piece, limb by limb, the Browns are healing and getting back to full strength.
After being hit by injuries over the past few weeks, the Browns welcomed several players, including linebacker Barkevious Mingo, back to practice on Monday. Mingo had been out since undergoing right knee surgery on Aug. 6.
Mingo has been slowed by injuries throughout his NFL career. However, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft is on schedule to play in the season opener on Sept. 13 against the New York Jets. Mingo tried to stay positive while being sidelined, knowing he needed to stay mentally sharp until he was physically able.
Mingo says injuries happen and it’s up to each player on how to handle it.
“You can sit in the back of the classroom and sulk and not pay attention to coaching points and do all that stuff and not try to get better as fast as you can,” he said. “Or you can go out there, make sure you get those coaching points and you’re pushing in the training room and you’re getting that limb or whatever stronger and getting ready to play and preparing mentally as if you’re going to play from week to week.”
Mingo is not expected to play in Thursday night’s exhibition finale against Chicago, the last chance for several players to make a positive impression on Cleveland’s coaches before the roster is trimmed to 53 on Saturday. Before then, players are trying to get healthy and coach Mike Pettine was happy to have defensive backs Justin Gilbert (hip flexor), Jordan Poyer (concussion), K’Waun Williams (oblique), Robert Nelson Jr. (hamstring) and defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (groin) back on the field.
Also, wide receiver-in-training Terrelle Pryor (hamstring) practiced despite sitting out Saturday’s game at Tampa Bay. Pryor could be down to his last days with the Browns if he isn’t able to dress and play in the preseason finale. Pettine was encouraged by Pryor’s progress, but he’ll get a better sense of his status Tuesday when the Browns will practice at full speed in pads.
“I think tomorrow will truly tell,” Pettine said. “If he does go against Chicago, he will be limited as far as the number of plays he is going to play.”
Rookie running back Duke Johnson and cornerback Pierre Desir were among the players who weren’t at practice. Both sustained concussions against the Buccaneers and are following the NFL’s guidelines on head injuries.
The Browns do not yet know the extent of Johnson’s injury, leaving them short-handed at running back with Shaun Draughn (hand) also injured.
Pettine, though, said the team is not signing a running back this week and quickly dismissed questions about whether the team would sign Ray Rice or Fred Jackson, who was released by Buffalo on Monday. Pettine has ties to both backs.
“Let’s talk about people that are here,” Pettine snapped. “We throw names out. I didn’t give a name out the other day and now it is ‘I am not ruling people out.’ We are aware of who is available. I’ll leave it at that.”
Backup quarterback Johnny Manziel continued to be kept from throwing because of a sore right elbow. The Browns shut down Manziel last week for the remainder of the preseason, and Pettine does not know when Manziel will resume throwing.