Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
Changing on the fly: The Browns had swiftly become intrigued with the amazing quickness of running back Dion Lewis in a specialty offensive role until he broke his left fibula Thursday in the Detroit game. They are hopeful he can return late in the season, but won’t know for sure until he has surgery on the leg.
Receivers coach Scott Turner was at University of Pittsburgh during Lewis’ record-breaking two years as a Panther. But it was coordinator Norv Turner, Scott’s father, who was conjuring ways of incorporating Lewis in a role that would not interfere with the heavy load anticipated of starter Trent Richardson.
“He was a guy I thought was going to give us some big plays, and I don’t know whether he’s out (for the year),” Norv Turner said Sunday. “I’d love to see him be able to come back, and I don’t know that we know that yet, second half of the season or something like that.”
The loss of Lewis, who resembled ex-Charger water bug Darren Sproles, means that Richardson will be counted on to stay on the field on third downs. Lewis also was listed as the No. 1 kickoff returner.
“Ultimately, you’d like Trent to have some of that (third-down) role, particularly in two-minute situations, end-of-the-game situations,” Turner said. “We’d like him to fill that role because, as I said before, if you’ve got your best player on the sidelines, you’re probably not taking advantage of all your guys. We can’t wear Trent out, but we have to be able to use him in similar situations.”
Welcome back: Lewis’ injury resulted in the Browns re-signing running back Jamaine Cook for a second look. Cook, of Midpark High School and Youngstown State, was waived on May 21 after signing as an undrafted free agent.
Cook, 5-9 and 210 pounds, had at least 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in each of his three seasons at YSU. He was moving his belongings back to Youngstown to finish classes for his accounting degree when the Browns called.
“It’s good to be back doing what I love,” Cook said after his first practice. “It’s been a rough summer. I haven’t really played since I got released. I’ve been training all summer, staying ready to go. It’s crazy. The summer really humbled me. Now I’m hungrier than ever.”
Cook was signed after a physical and a tryout on Friday. Cook said also at the tryout was former Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton, who hasn’t played since 2011.
Full Nelson: Receiver David Nelson was back in full pads for the first time since re-injuring a knee on Aug. 1. Nelson worked individual drills only.
Nelson has had a tough time staying on the field since signing as a Buffalo free agent on April 30. Nelso had surgery on a torn ACL in September. He arrived at training camp on the physically unable to perfom-active list, looked to have tweaked the knee catching passes in the indoor facility a few days before camp, and then was cleared to practice on July 26.
But after five days on the field, Nelson suffered a bone bruise to the same knee.
“It was frustrating because I was making progress,” he said. “I felt I was back, ready to go, then took a setback.
“It had nothing to do with the ligament. I planted a little too hard and came out of it a little too weird. My knee kind of hyperextended and there was a bone bruise.”
Nelson said he was able to beat the original prognosis for returning to the field. Now he’s hoping to turn it into overdrive so that he can see some action Saturday in Indianapolis in the third preseason game.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.comFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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