Campbell practices; One step from playing

BEREA, Ohio — The Browns finally received some good news.

Jason Campbell is just one step from being cleared to playing Sunday against the Patriots.

“Jason Campbell has been cleared to practice today,” Rob Chudzinski said. “He still has not and will not pass the independent neurologist test until we see how he does (Thursday). The next 24 to 48 hours, obviously, we’ll have more information. He would need to pass that before he could play in the game.”

Campbell did practice and was running and throwing passes in the individual drills during the time open to the media. Campbell has not practiced or played since suffering a concussion on Nov. 24 at FirstEnergy Stadium when the Steeler’s William Gay hit him in the face mask with 7:59 to play in the third quarter on a blitz from the corner. Campbell fumbled and Will Allen recovered and returned the ball to the Browns’ four-yard line setting up  a touchdown. There was no penalty called, but he NFL admitted a mistake was made by fining Gay last week, in excess of $15,000.

The NFL protocol for concussions goes from being cleared for activity and then to practice. After a player practices, he needs to pass a test from an independent neurologist before the player is cleared to play in a game. Campbell practiced Thursday and he will be evaluated by the neurologist and if he’s cleared, he will be able to start against New England.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner admitted it was a relief for the the team to see Campbell at the walk through Thursday morning.

“Just getting him back in the walk through, I think everyone felt a sense of relief in terms of some continuity,” Turner said. “He’s real sharp in the meetings and seems to be doing well. Obviously, the doctors have to confirm. that we’ll have to see how he is

Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden’ status is unchanged. He is cleared for activity, but has not been cleared to practice, as of yet.

“We’ll continue to work (Alex) Tanney and (Caleb) Hanie in practice,” Chudzinski said.

Regardless, Turner said they have to get Hanie and Tanney ready to either play or backup Campbell, Weeden or both.

“We’re going to work all thee guys to make sure we cover all the bases in terms of getting ready to play a very good football team,” Turner said.

Turner admitted he has seen a lot of things that are new to him this year. Instead of a feature running back, he has been using a three-headed committee for most of the season with Willis McGahee, Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker. He also has seen a strange year at the quarterback position.

“I think there are a lot of firsts this year for a lot of us,” he said. “Three (quarterbacks have) played and (we’ve had) six different games with a different starter.”

Turner said the continual change at quarterback disrupts the offensive flow.

“That’s a challenge, not so much on the coaches, but for the players,” he said. “That’s why you have one (quarterback) and everyone gets used to him.”

Chudzinski admitted the step is a positive step in Campbell being ready to return Sunday against the Patriots.

“It’s encouraging.”


Losing Desmond: Late Wednesday, the Browns announced that they had to place DL Desmond Bryant on the reserve/non-football illness list with an irregular heartbeat.

 “It’s disappointing,” Chudzinski said. “He’s been playing at a high level for us, but the most important thing for him now, is to get that taken care of and we expect a full recovery.”

Bryant had to leave at halftime of the Bills game with an irregular heartbeat. He spent the night at the Cleveland Clinic and was cleared to resume playing. However, doctors felt a procedure was needed to remedy the situation.

“First of all, you want players to be healthy and we’re taking care of that,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “For us, we keep going, but I also have trust in belief that we have guys behind them that are just starters in waiting.

“I’m sure this is more a precautionary deal with him,” he said. “We closely monitor players and it’s something that came up and they’re doing the right thing.”

Armonty Bryant is looking for an increased role and he’s hoping he can make an impact against QB Tom Brady.

“I’ve been dreaming about this opportunity for a while,” he said. “When the opportunity comes up, I wanted to be ready.”

Bryant was a big free agent signing by the Browns as they signed him to a five-year $34 million contract from the Raiders. Bryant started all 12 games and finished the season with 45 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

WR Brian Tyms was re-signed from the practice squad to the active roster. He appeared in three games before spending last week on the practice squad.

DL Billy Winn and rookie DL Armonty Bryant are expected to take Bryant’s place in the rotation.

“It’s probably important to the players who start, but we don’t really have starters,” Horton said. “They all get about the same amount of snaps.”

Horton said his goal is for the players in the rotation to get between 22 and 35 snaps.

Injury Update:
Weeden was the only player on the active roster not practicing on Thursday. LB Craig Robertson (knee), LB Tank Carder (shoulder) and TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring) were listed as limited on the Wednesday injury report.

Practice Moves:
The Browns released LB Justin Staples from the practice squad and added three players to the practice squad. They signed DB T.J. Heath, DL Cam Henderson and LB Jonathan Stewart.