BEREA - As Scott Fujita walked out one door, rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson walked through another door.
The neck injury that has put an end to Fujita's season will mean more playing time for Johnson, a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. Johnson was on the inactive list the first four weeks of the season with an oblique injury. He started in place of Fujita on the strong side the last two weeks.
Johnson, who has only one tackle, is still working through the growing pains of the transition from college to the NFL.
"It's getting better week to week," Johnson said. "Last week I was a little less rusty than I was the week before that. Now I'm getting better this week."
The injury was an obvious setback.
"If you took off a month from your job and you came back, you'd be a little iffy," Johnson said. "Then you get back into the swing of things and get ready to go."
Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said that Johnson could eventually play in the middle. D'Qwell Jackson has a strong hold on that spot now.
"Either or to me, it doesn't matter," he said. "Whichever one they put me at, I'll play."
READY TO GO: Backup running back Montario Hardesty could be a factor Sunday against the San Diego Chargers if Trent Richardson has problems with his sore ribs. Hardesty is chomping at the bit now that he's healthy for the first time in his NFL career.
"Last year I was able to get used to some things," Hardesty said. "This year I feel a lot more comfortable back there. I finally got a little burst. I just feel healthy. I can play how I play."
THE CHECK CLEARED: The Browns are now officially owned by James Haslam III. The financial transaction involving an exchange of $750 million into the back account of the Lerner family took place Thursday.
Haslam will make another payment of $250 million four years from now to gain complete control.
OUT OF TOWN: New team president Joe Banner's move into his office Thursday was delayed. Banner was in Boston to visit his ailing father.
AIR TIGHT: The Browns offensive line has done a superb job of protecting quarterback Brandon Weeden, allowing just 11 sacks. Weeden wasn't sacked in two of the last three games.
The Browns are eighth in the NFL in allowing the fewest sacks. The New York Giants lead with six. The Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans are tied for second with eight.
TAKING NOTICE: The website "profootballfocus.com" has rated the 32 offensive lines. The site has the Browns ranked 10th (ninth pass blocking, 11th run blocking and 21st in penalties).
The run blocking rating seems high for a team that's averaging 79.1 rushing yards a game.
INJURY REPORT: Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf) missed practice for a second straight day and is doubtful for Sunday's game. Players that were limited included safety Tashaun Gipson (knee), Hardesty (knee), receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), Richardson (chest/rib), safety Ray Ventrone (hand/calf), safety T.J. Ward (hand/shoulder) and safety Usama Young (hamstring). Offensive lineman Ryan Miller practiced after being limited Wednesday because of an illness.