BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns lost one player for the season but got another back Wednesday.
Linebacker Scott Fujita will be placed on injured reserve and defensive tackle Phil Taylor returned to practice for the first time in nearly 6 months.
Fujita missed the last 2 games with a shoulder/neck injury. There have been unconfirmed reports the injury is career threatening but Shurmur would not say if Fujita planned to retire.
“You hate to retire when your forced with injury,” Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “You never want to go out on an injured note, but obviously he has to talk to his family, and see what’s the best move forward for him.”
He signed a 3 year, $14 million contract with the Browns as a free agent in 2010 with $8 million guaranteed but finished all 3 seasons on IR.
Fujita spent much of the season fighting a 3-game suspension for an alleged role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. Fujita maintained his innocence, which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conceded was accurate in a letter to Fujita.
After an appeals panel ruled that Goodell punished Fujita and 3 other players improperly on Sept. 7, he eventually reduced the suspension to a game for not
blowing thew whistle.
“He’s been through a lot in the last two years, just trying to defend his name at this point,” Jackson said. “He’s a strong guy, if any guy can go through it would be Scott to be able to deal with it.”
He started 3 games this season and totaled 14 tackles and a sack.
Taylor, who was placed on the PUP list Aug. 30, returned to practice for the first time since sustaining a torn pectoral muscle in May.
“It felt good,” Taylor said. “Just had to knock off the cobwebs a little bit.”
Taylor tore his left pectoral muscle while lifting weights on May 10 and underwent surgery shortly after. He’s spent plenty of time with trainers and medical staff getting back into shape.
“It’s been tough,” Taylor said. “Just not being able to play, just watching, it’s tough. I’m glad I’m back out here now and getting back in the swing of things.
“They said it was going to be a 4-6 month process and i just worked hard to get back.”
Jackson has been keeping an eye on Taylor’s progress and giving him advice through his rehab.
“Just to not push things, just to listen to your body,” Jackson said. “This is another level of being a pro, when you do go through injuries, you have to listen to you body. The biggest advice I gave to him, take your time, stay attentive to your body.”
Shurmur said the chances of Taylor playing Sunday vs. San Diego are “very low.”
The Browns have 21 days to activate or place him on injured reserve but Taylor expects to play soon.
“I’m just taking it day by day right now so maybe the next 2 weeks or so,” Taylor said. “It’s my first week of practice and you’re not going to throw somebody in after 1 week of practice after not playing for half the season.
“Next week I’ll do a little bit more each practice.”