Browns quarterback Jason Campbell practiced for the first time since sustaining a concussion and could start Sunday at New England.
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Campbell returned to the field on Thursday, the next step in his recovery from a head injury sustained on Nov. 24 when he was hurt on a blindside hit by Pittsburgh’s William Gay. Campbell must still be cleared by an independent neurologist — per NFL rules — before he is allowed to play against the Patriots.
Campbell took part in all drills and threw to his receivers during the portion of practice open to media members.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he was "very encouraged" by Campbell’s progress, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he was glad to have the veteran back. Campbell has started four games this season.
"Well, just getting him back in the walk-through, I think everyone felt a sense of relief in terms of continuity," said Turner, who in all his seasons as a coach couldn’t recall many times when he didn’t know who would start this late in the week.
"There’s a lot of firsts this year for a lot of us," Turner said. "When you really think about it, obviously, three guys have played, but we’ve had six different games where we’ve had a different starter. That’s a challenge."
Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, have started for Cleveland in 2013.
Campbell had to sit out last week’s loss to Jacksonville and was replaced by Weeden, who started and was concussed at some point against the Jaguars. Weeden has not yet been given permission to practice.
The Browns signed free agent Caleb Hanie earlier this week in case Campbell or Weeden can’t play. Alex Tanney was signed last week off Dallas’ practice squad, and he and Hanie split the plays with Cleveland’s starting offense in Wednesday’s practice.
Turner said both young quarterbacks have made progress and can be counted on in case Campbell is unable to play.