CLEVELAND - New Browns receiver Miles Austin has the blessing to wear number 19 after a conversation with the player who made it popular in the 1980s - Bernie Kosar.
Austin, who played eight seasons with Dallas, initially wore 14 for the Cowboys. He gave it up for 19 when the Cowboys signed quarterback Brad Johnson, who favored 14.
Austin has a strong attachment to 19. He said Kosar has no problem with him wearing the number.
"I thought it was the right thing to do to reach out to him and basically tell how much I think of him," said Austin, who was signed to possibly add depth in case Josh Gordon is suspended for a third violation of the NFL's drug policy. "I also let him know how much pride I take in the game as well. I told him I look up to him and I'd do everything I could to make him proud if he allowed me to wear it, and if he didn't I'd have to find another number."
Austin watched Wednesday's OTA practice for precautionary measures. He said he could have practiced if permitted by coach Mike Pettine.
Austin has had injury problems in recent seasons. He was reduced to 11 games last season because of a hamstring injury, finishing with 244 yards on 24 receptions.
"Last year obviously wasn't one of my best years," Austin said. "At the same time I think you could ask anyone I played with or any of my coaches who I am and how I am as a teammate and player, and I hope they will give you a good answer."
NOT A CONCERN: There was a very large piece of the defensive puzzle missing from practice. Defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin is out with an injury that isn't considered serious.
"This comes back to the injury thing that the NFL wants us to report on injuries that we consider serious," Pettine said. "To me serious is something that will cause him to miss the start of training camp. It falls under that category."
MIXING IT UP: Second-year offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey was involved in a physical altercation after a play with several defensive players.
"We tell our guys we want to be competitive, not combative," Pettine said. "It's a fine line, and we want our guys right up to that line. It is an emotional sport. Sometimes it will trigger a response that as a staff you don't want."
TAKING IT IN: Pettine looked like a wandering tourist during practice, walking the field and letting the assistants do most of the coaching.
"I've always been of a mindset to let the coaches coach, and I'll make notes," Pettine said. "Unless I feel a need to be outspoken about something, I'll usually stay pretty reserved during practice."
CAMPING OUT: Safety Tashaun Gipson made the play of practice when he intercepted a Brian Hoyer pass. Gipson did a nifty job of keeping both feet inbounds Hoyer made a nice deep throw on a post route ran by receiver Conner Vernon Johnny Manziel threw all short passes during 11-on-11 drills. He did connect with Gordon on a crossing route Gordon refused interview requests Second-year safety Jamoris Slaughter picked off a Hoyer pass that was tipped. Slaughter missed last season while recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon suffered a year earlier at Notre Dame Rookie guard Joel Bitonio worked with the first team at guard in the absence of Paul McQuistan, who missed the practice.