BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Left tackle Joe Thomas has been a rare breed for the Browns.
Since he was drafted third overall in 2007, he has never missed a single offensive snap. Not a one in 149 games. All 9,262 of them and made 9 consecutive Pro Bowls, the first offensive lineman in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
Thomas was not seen and did not practice during the portion of practice open to reporters Thursday and he appeared on the injury report with a knee injury but did not practice on Wednesday, which is customary the last few years for him.
“He won’t miss a down. No question in my mind about that,” head coach Hue Jackson said following Thursday’s practice.
Sunday’s game at Tennessee will mark the 150th game for Thomas in his career.
Cam Cleared – In the midst of all the bad injury news, some good news finally came Thursday regarding center Cameron Erving, who returned to practice this week.
“Cam is ready to go,” Jackson said.
Erving missed the last 3 games due to a bruised lung sustained in a 25-20 loss to the Ravens on Sept. 18. After the game he was taken from FirstEnergy Stadium to a local hospital via an ambulance where he was diagnosed.
The Browns hope that the return of Erving is a boost to what has become a depleted offensive line following left guard Joel Bitonio’s mid-foot sprain that will keep him out for an expended period of time forcing the team to shuffle the front 5 once again before facing a Titans team that has racked up 12 sacks this season.
“Cam is there and obviously [John] Greco and Alvin Bailey and [Jonathan] Cooper,” Jackson said. “We will know more by the end of the week, but I feel good about the guys who are going to walk out there first. I do feel good about the starting line.”
John Greco will once again shift back from center to right guard and Bailey will likely move to left guard marking the fifth different combination used this season in 6 games.
“When there are holes in the ship, you have got to plug them up,” Greco said. “That’s where we are at right now. Unfortunately, we are kind of injury riddled right now, but that gives other guys opportunities.”
Briles Back – Former Baylor coach Art Briles remains with the Browns as a special guest to Jackson and the 2 spent a lot of time together during the portion of Thursday’s practice open to reporters.
Although Briles has not been hired and isn’t serving in any official capacity, his presence drew a tremendous amount of criticism Wednesday because of his dismissal from Baylor in the wake of a massive sexual assault scandal surrounding the football program under Briles’ watch.
Injury Report – DNP: LT Joe Thomas (knee), LG Joel Bitonio (foot), WR Corey Coleman (hand), TE Randall Telfer (ankle), TE Seth DeValve (knee), DL Xavier Cooper (shoulder); LIMITED: TE Gary Barnidge (forearm/hip), QB Josh McCown (left shoulder) CB Joe Haden (groin); FULL: QB Cody Kessler (chest/ribs), C Cameron Erving (chest/lung), CB Tramon Williams (shoulder)