Preseason Opener Against Lions Hurts Browns
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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns’ preseason-opening win in Detroit came at a significant cost.
Wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin, linebacker Scott Fujita, cornerback Dimitri Patterson, tight end Jordan Cameron, and defensive tackle Scott Paxson did not practice Sunday as the Browns (No. 30 in the AP Pro32) resumed their training camp schedule. All six were injured Friday during Cleveland’s 19-17 victory, and all are either starters or second-teamers on the depth chart.
“It’s hard to tell when they’ll be back,” coach Pat Shurmur said, declining to offer specifics. “They were nicked up in the game, so we’ll see when they can come back.”
Fourth-year starter Massaquoi (concussion), Patterson (right ankle), Cameron (back), and Paxson (right knee) each required help from Cleveland’s training staff after on-field collisions. Shurmur would not reveal the injuries that Benjamin and Fujita suffered.
Though Patterson and Paxson appeared to be in tremendous pain when they were hurt, Massaquoi’s status is the most troubling. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder was hit by Detroit safety Erik Coleman after making a 12-yard reception on the Browns’ initial offensive snap and did not return.
This is Massaquoi’s third documented concussion since Oct. 17, 2010, when he absorbed a brutal helmet-to-helmet blow by Steelers linebacker James Harrison. His second occurred on a high hit by Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner on Oct. 23, 2011.
Over the last two seasons, Massaquoi has made 67 receptions for 867 yards and four touchdowns in 29 games. The three games he missed were because of post-concussion symptoms.
“With Mo down, it’s really going to hurt,” said wide receiver Josh Gordon, a second-round supplemental draft pick. “If it’s me or whoever, we have to be sure to do our jobs until he comes back. It’s up to us to step up for him.”
Massaquoi, in the final season of his four-year rookie contract, added more drama to the situation by going on Twitter to dispute the Browns’ announcement he had a concussion. Per team policy, injured players are not made available to the media until they are medically cleared.
Shurmur reacted angrily when asked about Massaquoi’s tweet following practice.
“I told you what happened, and that’s what happened,” the second-year coach said. “He has a concussion, and we’re treating it as so.
“If I tell you something about what happens in a game, that’s how it happened.”
Shurmur, who has expressed his dislike for Twitter in the past, did so again when asked if he would ban Cleveland’s players from communicating via social media.
“I’ve encouraged them not to and prefer that they don’t, but you can’t harness social media,” said Shurmur, who does not have a Twitter or Facebook account. “I’ve learned that. I’m not going to sit here and pick a fight with Twitter. That’s part of society today.
“But I have expressed to them not to talk about Browns business when they are out there.”
As a result of the new injuries, 15 members of Cleveland’s 90-man roster did not take part in the 2 1-2 hour afternoon practice, including defensive tackle Phil Taylor (left pectoral tear) and fullback Eddie Williams, who are on the active/physically unable to perform list.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson (left knee surgery) could play in the Browns’ first regular season game on Sept. 9 after having loose cartilage removed Thursday, while linebacker Chris Gocong (right Achilles tendon tear) will miss the entire season.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, tight end Benjamin Watson, safety Usama Young, and defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Marcus Benard are sidelined with minor injuries, according to Shurmur.
“Of course, you want to win your preseason games, but seeing how this roster competes and learning about the players you have is more important,” Shurmur said. “You want to make sure you’re making the right decisions when it comes time to cut down to 53 guys. That’s really what we’re working toward as a coaching staff.”
NOTES: The Browns play their second preseason game Thursday at Green Bay. Shurmur said the starters, including rookie QB Brandon Weeden, will play the entire first half. … CB Joe Haden made two interceptions, picking off Weeden and Seneca Wallace, in 11-on-11 sequences. He also returned punts during a special teams drill as Cleveland searches for a backup for two-time Pro Bowl KR Joshua Cribbs. … Gordon worked in Massaquoi’s place on the first-team offense, but was admonished by Shurmur for giving a lethargic effort at one point. “He needs to be inspired and motivated,” the coach said. … The longest offensive play of practice was a 70-yard touchdown pass from backup Colt McCoy to WR Rod Windsor. … The fifth-largest crowd of training camp, 2,913, was on hand at the Browns’ team headquarters.
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