Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Takeaways from Day 14 of Browns training camp …
1. Prayers: The worst sight on any practice field is a player getting carried off while strapped to a wooden backboard to immobilize movement of his neck and spine. That was the case with defensive end Chad Thomas about midway through practice after he collided awkwardly with an offensive lineman.
Thomas showed movement in his arms and legs and was responding to trainers by the time he was strapped to board, so there was a tinge of relief already as players knelt while trainers followed protocol and precaution.
Thomas was taken to University Hospitals for observation and released. The Browns said Thomas suffered a neck sprain. His return to practice will be evaluated on a daily basis. He is expected to travel with the team to Indianapolis.
“I saw him moving and I saw him standing after the play, and I think he went down after that,” said guard Joel Bitonio. “It is tough to finish a practice after you see that.”
Coach Freddie Kitchens gathered his team, delivered a message and practice continued.
“In our game, that’s reality,” Kitchens said. “Sometimes that happens during the course of the game and mentally we have to keep moving forward. You don’t want to see your teammate laying there. Sometimes it looks worse than it is, not to make light of it.”
In this case, Kitchens was correct. Fortunately.
2. The full Dorse: GM John Dorsey said on 850 ESPN Cleveland that he traded Duke Johnson to the Houston Texans for a fourth-round pick that could improve to a third if he’s active for 10 games because “this is probably as good a deal as we’re going to get for that position.”
Dorsey's comments on other topics:
On releasing blocking tight end Orson Charles and signing Rico Gathers, who was released by Dallas and is facing a one-game suspension for violation of the NFL drug program:
“I thought it was one of the times, being realistic, you ask, ‘is Orson going to make the team?’ As things were unfolding, maybe he wasn’t. Then you acquire a player like Rico Gathers. Why not take a shot at him and see what he has because he’s a young man that’s skilled with developmental upside, and I can’t wait for him to learn this offense. We did enough research [on the violation] that we felt very comfortable moving forward.”
On the four-game suspension facing receiver Antonio Callaway for drug program violation:
“I sat down with him, Freddie sat down with him, the organization sat down with him. He knows our expectations. We will put every resource available for him moving forward.”
On how return specialist Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi’s roster chances are improving:
“I think his development from when he first got here … has been exponential. I mean, a hundred-fold better than when he first got here. He didn’t play football for 2 ½ years. The stuff that he’s done has been marvelous. The thing that captivated you in his video was his return ability. It is valuable. You can impact the game from that position.”
3. Freddie in charge: Kitchens had his team in pads for the 11th day in 14 practices, and there will be two physical practices with the Colts Wednesday and Thursday in Westfield, IN, prior to Saturday’s preseason game 2.
There is no limit on number of padded practices in training camp, but teams are restricted to 14 over the course of the regular season – one per week over the first 10 weeks and then four over the final six.
“This has been a pretty tough camp for these guys,” Kitchens said. “I think it has been kind of a culture shock, but I think they have embraced it. We have a lot of guys that are willing to pay the price. We understand that now. A lot of guys have bought in to what we are trying to do.
“Now, it is just a matter of going in and seeing what you got against someone else. Wednesday and Thursday are not going to make or break our season, but it is going to give us a little barometer of where we are at from a physical standpoint.”
Some teams don’t practice in pads as much as Kitchens’ first camp, so he was asked if he received any backlash from the team’s so-called “leadership council,” which is a group of veteran players who act as a conduit to the head coach for the entire squad.
Kitchens snapped, “I do not have a leadership council. I have me, and that is it. I do not get into that stuff either. That is all a façade for excuses to blame other people. I will take the blame.”
4. Brownie bits: There was a play with the Browns’ offense backed up against its own goal line. Right guard Eric Kush came off the snap and pulled to his left to block Myles Garrett. Garrett swatted through Kush’s block and was on Baker Mayfield so fast, Mayfield just lost the ball out of the end zone to avoid a collision. Garrett is unstoppable here. He’ll face a formidable left side of the offensive line against the Colts in tackle Anthony Costanzo and guard Quentin Nelson …
In a scripted kicking period, Greg Joseph was six for six. Austin Seibert was five for six, missing wide right from 43 yards. Dorsey on the kickers: “I think they’re doing well. I think you have to exercise patience. That’s why you go through these preseason games to exercise patience and let these things work out.” …
Linebacker Mack Wilson did not have an interception in practice. I asked if it’s a disappointment when that happens, considering he had five in five days last week. “Sometimes, I am [disappointed],” he said, chuckling. “Sometimes, Odell [Beckham Jr.] will come up to me and say, ‘Are you not practicing today?’ I guess that basically means I am not doing enough if I didn’t catch an interception.”