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Getting healthy

August 29, 2011 - Mike McLain
BEREA -- Browns coach Pat Shurmur has been admittedly concerned about the safety positions because of the injury factor, but that changed Monday.

T.J. Ward and Usama Young both returned to practice after dealing with hamstring injuries. Ward played in the first preseason game before getting hurt in practice. Young was injured early in training camp and has yet to play in a game.

Their returns are important. The starters in their place have been Ray Ventrone, who's a special teams standout with no starting assignments in four seasons, and Mike Adams. Adams has started 34 of 98 game appearances but was being counted on to play in nickel situations.

As expected, guard Eric Steinbach didn't practice because of a damaged disk in his back. Shurmur said a decision would be made soon on Steinbach, who will probably go on the injured reserve list and will be lost for the season.

Other players not able to practice Monday were linebacker Chris Gocong, defensive lineman Travis Ivey, tight end Ben Watson and running back Brandon Jackson. Watson was added to the list when he left practice late Sunday with a hamstring injury.

Watson's injury strengthens the case to keep four tight ends when the final roster cuts are made. Watson, Evan Moore and rookie Jordan Cameron are locks. Alex Smith will probably be kept to provide depth and insurance in case of injuries.

Many teams keep four tight ends, but the importance of the position in the west-coast offense increase their value.


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