Cleveland inks Yount to 5-year extension

CLEVELAND – The Browns continue to sign key pieces to long-term contract extensions.

The latest to sign was long snapper Christian Yount, who signed a five-year deal Tuesday. Prior to the start of training camp guard John Greco signed a five-year extension.

Long snapper might not be a high-profile spot on the roster, but it’s valuable nonetheless.

“At that position you have to be perfect,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “You never know how valuable those guys are until you don’t have one that can get the snap back. We’re happy to have Christian as part of our organization for a long time. He’s earned it.”

Yount was originally signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie from UCLA in 2011. The Buccaneers waived him in October of that year. The Browns signed him on Nov. 29 of 2011, shortly after parting ways with Ryan Pontbriand.

Yount has supplied the type of consistency that had become expected of Pontbriand until he inexplicably lost his touch two years ago. Pontbriand was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 draft by then coach Butch Davis, who was intrigued by the consistency Pontbriand showed during a workout at Rice prior to the draft.

Yount now has the financial security that Pontbriand enjoyed for close to nine seasons.

“It takes one more thing off your plate that you have to worry about,” Yount said.

NO GO: All signs point toward Dion Lewis starting at running back in place of Trent Richardson. Lewis took all the snaps with the first team offense Tuesday.

Richardson has yet to play in a preseason game. He sat out all four of the 2012 contests after having knee surgery. Richardson was sidelined early in camp with a sore lower leg. He returned only to take a seat after being kicked in the same area.

Lewis has been impressive. He appears to be more than a third-down option in relief of Richardson.

“He’s been a playmaker,” Chudzinski said. “He’s shown good vision and running skills. He’s also demonstrated the ability to catch the ball. We’re working him on special teams as a kick returner as well. I’m excited to see what he does.”

NO NEWS: Guard Shaun Lauvao missed practice to rest a sore ankle. Lauvao suffered the injury during a one-on-one pass-rushing drill with defensive tackle Phil Taylor.

Chudzinski didn’t have much more information than he had after Monday’s practice. He said he would have an update today.

INJURY REPORT: To no one’s surprise, not able to practice were running back Montario Hardesty, offensive lineman Oniel Cousins, fullbacks Brad Smelley and Brock Bolen, receiver David Nelson and Lauvao,

LEAVING EARLY: Jason Pinkston, who practiced at right guard with the first team, left practice with about an hour remaining. He had to attend a funeral.

CAMPING OUT: Players were in shorts for practice. They’ll have another light workout today prior to Thursday’s game against the Rams. About the only highlight came when cornerback Chris Owens jumped a route for an interception on a pass thrown by Jason Campbell. Owens has moved ahead of Buster Skrine and Leon McFadden for the starting spot. Owner James Haslam watched practice. It’s been hit and miss with him since camp started. Today’s practice has been moved up to the morning but won’t be open to the public.