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Campbell closer, but not cleared to play

Jason Campbell took a step closer to starting for the Cleveland Browns Sunday in New England.

Campbell, who has been out since receiving a concussion against Pittsburgh, was cleared by team doctors to practice. But he still must be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play in a game.

That process will take place in the next day or two.

Teammates had said last week that Campbell was doing well, but coming back from a concussion brings a lot of uncertainty. The Browns hoped Campbell might practice Wednesday; he was deemed not ready.

Having him back Thursday is a help, but the team will not say how much Campbell did in practice until it releases the injury report, usually around 4 p.m. ET.

“He is cleared to practice, and that’s the next step,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “I’m not a doctor, but he’s been real sharp in the meetings and seems to be doing well. Obviously the doctors have to confirm that, and then we’ll see how he is.”

The one thing that seems clear is that Brandon Weeden will not play in New England. Weeden has yet to be cleared to practice.

The process the NFL uses in bringing folks back from concussions was partly of their own making. They put Colt McCoy back in a game in Pittsburgh after he had taken a vicious late hit to the jaw from linebacker James Harrison.

That contributed to the league strengthening testing to ensure nobody returned too early.

The Browns no doubt would welcome Campbell on the field in New England, but it is pretty much out of their hands.