Joe Haden awaiting word on suspension

The Cleveland Browns know they will have running back Trent Richardson, their top draft pick, for the season opener against Philadelphia. Whether they have their top cornerback is another story.

Joe Haden has appealed a suspension by the NFL and is awaiting a decision from the league, team president Mike Holmgren told a Cleveland radio station today.

If Haden has to miss the opener, the Browns are in a better position today than they were last week. Dimitri Patterson, the team's nickelback who had been out since injuring an ankle in the first preseason game in Detroit on Aug. 10, returned to practice Monday. Patterson was expected to compete for Sheldon Brown's starting job before he was sidelined.

The Browns made sure they had quality depth at cornerback this offseason, when they signed Patterson to a three-year, $16.05 million (included $6 million guaranteed). There would still be a dropoff from Haden to Patterson. But it won't be as severe as replacing Haden with the likes of Buster Skrine.