Browns notes: Kareem Hunt, Jack Conklin expected to return to practice this week

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BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – With the AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens looming this week, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski may get to finally play with a full deck again.

Running back Kareem Hunt and right tackle Jack Conklin are expected to return to practice this week and potentially play Sunday night in Baltimore.

“I am hopeful,” Stefanski said Monday afternoon. “I think they are both progressing well.”

Both players are on injured reserve and will need to be designated to return, which will allow them to begin practicing. The Browns have 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.

For them to be eligible for Sunday night’s game, they need to be activated by 4 p.m. Saturday.

Hunt, who is second on the team with five touchdowns scored this season, suffered a calf injury in a 37-14 loss to the Cardinals that forced him to miss the last five games.

“Kareem kind of is our Swiss Army knife,” center J.C. Tretter said. “He can do it all, pass game, run game. I give D’Ernest [Johnson] a ton of credit. D’Ernest has played extremely well in Kareem’s absence and then in the games where Nick wasn’t there, too, but Kareem’s kind of a special player for us. It’s kind of tough to truly put into words what he brings to the table, but he’s just kind of that guy that makes everything go.”

Conklin suffered a dislocated elbow during a 15-10 loss to the Steelers October 31 but was able to avoid surgery, which likely would’ve been season ending.

“He had kind of a scary injury and he’s been rehabbing extremely hard, trying to get back as soon as possible,” Tretter said. “It would be a huge addition for our line and for our team getting him back out there. He’s a heck of a player, we’re going to go against a really unique defense, having experienced, talented offensive linemen out there will only help us on Sunday.”

Killing clock – Despite the offense sputtering for much of the afternoon, the Browns were able to run out the final 2:29, thanks largely in part to Nick Chubb.

Chubb ended up carrying five times on that final possession for 36 yards, including converting a pair of third downs.

“In those moments, the guys played great,” Stefanski said. “It really was a collective effort there, especially late in the ball game.”

Chubb finished with 130 yards on 22 carries. He also caught a pair of passes for 14 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season.

Ward them off – Denzel Ward continues to prove that when healthy, he’s among the best corners in the NFL.

Sunday afternoon Ward came away with his second interception of the season and broke up another pass.

“That was a great play that he made on that interception,” Stefanski said. “He has come up big for us in the last few weeks, especially making plays on the ball. He has to continue to challenge those receivers and very simply do not let your man catch the ball – take your guy out of it.”

In 10 games this season Ward has two interceptions – one returned 99 yards for a touchdown, 28 tackles, seven pass breakups, a pair of QB hits and half a sack.

Keep going – Receiver Jarvis Landry and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will continue to play through injuries according to Stefanski.

Landry reinjured his knee in the second half which forced him to miss a couple of offensive series before returning. He caught 4 of 8 targets for 26 yards and scored on a 16-yard run against the Lions.

Owusu-Koramoah, who missed three games on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain, left Sunday with another ankle injury.

Benched – Safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. did not start for the first time this season Sunday against the Lions and he was held out of the first defensive series.

“That was a disciplinary reason, and I will just keep it between Ronnie and myself,” Stefanski said.

Grant Delpit started in place of Harrison, who ended up playing 42 or 88% of the snaps against Detroit. He registered six tackles, one for loss in the victory.

Roster move – Backup center Nick Harris was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday.