Berea Report: Hardesty Set to Return Thursday

Browns injured running back expected to play in team's third preseason game at Philadelphia.

BEREA — It has been a long time coming. Montario Hardesty hasn't played in a game in about a year. On Sept. 2, 2010, Hardesty tore his ACL against the Chicago Bears in the final preseason game.

The Browns have been very careful with Hardesty throughout training camp, insisting that he was being held out as a precautionary measure. He hasn't been in contact drills since last week, even though he has practiced from the first day of camp.

Pat Shurmur was asked if he anxious to see Hardesty play in a game this week when the Browns travel to play the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.

"I am looking forward to having him come back out there," Shurmur said. "He looks better and better each day."

The Browns had big plans for Hardesty in 2010 after they traded up to draft him in the second-round (59th overall). Cleveland gave up a third-round and two fifth-round picks to take the Tennessee running back. There are some who felt Hardesty was going to be the featured back in 2010 until the injury. Peyton Hillis took full advantage of the opportunity and the rest is history.

However, the Browns still are hoping Hardesty can lighten Hillis' load.

"I know he's anxious to get out there," Shurmur said. "We put him in the 9-on-7 and 7-on-7 team drills (Sunday). He was in a lot of traffic and did a good job."

Mike Holmgren is excited to see Hardesty back in game action.

"I'm looking forward very much so to seeing him play," Holmgren said. "He's a fine young man and he's worked very hard to get back to playing."

Notebook

Big Show: Mike Holmgren has been very helpful to Shurmur adjusting to being an NFL head coach.

"He's been a huge, huge help to me in a lot of ways," Shurmur said. "From game day preparation, to things off the field."

Holmgren has been visible on the practice fields during training camp and was asked to give his thoughts on a couple of subjects after Sunday's practice.

•On QB Colt McCoy: "He's doing alright. I thought he has showed he has a good understanding of the offense and has gotten off to a pretty good start."

•On McCoy spending time with Brett Favre: "I have mixed feelings on that," he said laughing. "No, Brett's a great guy."

•On if there is any chance the NFL would repeal the new kickoff rule from the 35-yard-line this year: "No. I spoke up (at league meetings). It was sold for safety reasons and I understand that. But, I hope we revisit it next year. My motives are selfish because we have a good return guy."

•On talking to WR Greg Little after he punted the ball into the seats after his first touchdown: "I did as a matter of fact. I'm not coaching, but I told him (after we drafted him) that I'd be involved in his life."

Cribbs Slowed: WR Josh Cribbs tweaked his left hamstring near the end of practice Sunday, but he said he'll be alright.

"It's a minor setback," he said. "It's not too bad."

Masaquoi Close: Shurmur said that WR Mohamed Massaquoi should start running soon.

"He's very close," he said. "It's my understanding  that he will be out running in the next couple of dyas."

Massaquoi is not expected to play Thursday against the Eagles.

Injury Update: LB Chris Gocong (stinger), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), S T.J. Ward (mouth), S Usama Young (hamstring), LB Steve Octavien (undisclosed), OL Eric Steinbach (knee),TE Evan Moore (head) and RB Brandon Jackson (toe) all missed practice.

Shurmur said that Moore has a ‘mild concussion' and he hasn't heard anything that would cause him to be out indefinitely. Moore had a concussion last year and spoke out of his concern for having recurring injuries to the head.

Jackson is having his toe ‘evaluated'. Shurmur described it as turf toe after Friday's game.  Shurmur said that he thought Steinbach would be on the field soon.

RB Peyton Hillis, LB Scott Fujita and TE Ben Watson returned to practice.


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