BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said Amari Cooper would return soon after the receiver suffered a minor ankle injury Monday.
Soon meant Wednesday.
Cooper appeared to take his normal reps, working with ease during individual and positional drills as well as 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.
Cooper’s quick return is a sigh of relief with David Bell yet to practice after starting camp on active/PUP with a foot injury suffered during June’s minicamp and Anthony Schwartz recovering from a knee strain suffered last week.
Catching up – With Bell being a rookie, receivers coach Chad O’Shea was asked Wednesday how far behind has Bell fallen in camp?
“I think that anytime you are not on the field, it presents a different type of challenge but no different challenge than with what we have when you are presented with other things,” O’Shea said. “I think that we do enough with him from a walkthrough standpoint and we are very intense in the meeting room setting with him so we spend as much time as we can to make sure we kind of close that gap so when he does get on the field that he is able not know the information, go out there and try to execute.
“Obviously, we want as many players on the field as we can. If you are available to us, you have a chance to improve, but he certainly can improve although not being out there.”
Bouncing back – Right tackle Jack Conklin was the victim of some pretty bad luck in 2021.
After missing three weeks due to a dislocated elbow, Conklin suffered a season-ending patella tendon tear that was surgically repaired in his first game back from the elbow injury in Baltimore. While undergoing the procedure, a bone spur in his knee was also found.
“Yeah, it sucks. Finally get back thinking I’m going to be ready to go and then sit down and have the patellar pop open,” Conklin said. “It’s not fun, but it’s part of the game we play. This stuff happens and really what defines you when something happens like this. Do you end your career? Or do you come back and work your ass off and turn it into a positive and a growing experience.”
Conklin has done the latter and he’s back on the practice field trying to get himself ready for the upcoming season. He is being worked in slowly and Chris Hubbard works with the first team offense when he needs to rest.
“I just gotta ease in and let my knee get back to feeling used to football,” Conklin said. “But so far everything is going great. I feel stronger than I’ve been in a long time after putting in all of those hours and I feel good.”
Conklin doesn’t speak in absolutes, but he appears on track to be ready to go Week 1 in Charlotte on September 11.
“I’m working towards that, that’s my goal but again I’ve just started getting back to practice and we’ll see how it goes,” Conklin said.
Eating green – Linebacker Jacob Phillips has turned to a vegan diet, but the idea didn’t come from fellow linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, it was former Browns and current Saints receiver Jarvis Landry who inspired the dietary adjustment.
“Jarvis said if you're stingy with your body and you don't put the money into it, it's not going to make you money,” Phillips said. “So I kind of take that ideal on, he was plant-based. I don't eat the same food Jeremiah eats. I actually was having a struggle finding my plant-based meatballs, my Beyond meatballs, so I went to like four different CVSes in the area and finally found some last night. But yeah, I am plant based.”
Phillips, who has struggled with staying healthy early in his career, conceded that this is an important year for him.
“This is a big, big year for me,” Phillips said. “Obviously coming in my rookie year, dealing with injuries, missing games last year, tearing my bicep [and] missing games, this year is just really…I’m just trying to gear myself up to have a healthy season. I know when I’m healthy, I’m on the field, everything’s going to fall into place and I’m going to be able to show everybody in Cleveland the player I am.”
Highlights of the day – During 11-on-11 work, Deshaun Watson threaded a beautiful pass over the middle to Cooper for a big gain; Nick Chubb broke free for another long run and presumably a touchdown; A.J. Green broke up another pass in the secondary, which is becoming a daily occurrence.
Roster moves – The Browns added receiver Daylen Baldwin Wednesday and waived safety Nate Meadows. Baldwin is a rookie out of Michigan where he caught 17 passes for 256 yards and a pir of touchdowns last season for the Wolverines.
Salute to service – The Browns hosted their annual Military Appreciation Day at training camp today. Veterans and family members representing all branches of the military were invited to be VIP guests of the team, in partnership with USO Ohio.
Puppy pound counter – Six puppies were adopted Wednesday brining the camp total to 25 over three practices. Since the program’s launch in 2015, 650 puppies from the Northeast Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) have been adopted by Browns fans at training camp practices.
Roll call – WR David Bell (foot), P Corey Bojorquez (right foot), DT Sheldon Day (back), CB Reggie Robinson II (core muscle). WR Anthony Schwartz (knee), LB Anthony Walker Jr. (groin), CB Denzel Ward (foot) and WR Javon Wims (illness) did not practice Wednesday due to injury.
Defensive end Myles Garrett and receiver Jakeem Grant also did not practice and worked on the side. Both players were given the day off.
Up next – Practice Friday afternoon at 2.