BEREA, Ohio—The return of Bowe and Duke.
It sounds like a reunion of the Dukes of Hazard--I know it’s really Bo and Luke—but for the Browns, two projected big pieces of the offense returned to the practice field for the first time in nearly three weeks. The team went without pads Saturday’s practice.
Both players have missed the Orange & Brown scrimmage and the first two preseason games. Bowe has not practiced since Aug.5, while Johnson was injured on Aug. 1.
Mike Pettine the test will be when the team puts on the pads for Sunday’s practice.
said after practice.
“It’s helpful (to have them out there),” Pettine said after practice. “We’ll see how many will be able to go full speed in pads.”
Bowe was a key signing for the Browns as an unrestricted free agent and is counted upon to be a starter, if not the No. 1 receiver. He was asked if he expected to play next Saturday in the third preseason game against Tampa Bay.
“I’m working up to it,” he said. “I feel good and am eager to play.”
Bowe, 30, was signed by the Browns in March after being released by the Chiefs. Bowe had played all eight years in the NFL for Kansas City.
Bowe has caught 532 passes for 7,155 yards (13.4 avg.) in his career with 44 touchdowns after being a first round draft choice of the Chiefs in 2007.
In 2008, Bowe caught 86 passes for 1,022 yards, including seven touchdowns. In 2010, he had 72 receptions for 1162 yards, including 15 touchdowns. His final 1,000 yard receiving season was in 2011 when he caught 81 passes for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns.
Pettine said it’s important for Bowe to get some reps with the rest of the offense.
“It’s a different quarterback, new system, a lot of the concept stuff he’s done before,” he said. “Otherwise, there will be a learning curve during the season and you never want that.”
Last year, Bowe had 60 catches for 754 yards, but had no touchdowns.
Bowe said he’s confident that he’ll be ready for the regular season opener.
“I’m a football player,” he said. “I will be ready. My focus is on the opener.”
Johnson is also considered to be a big piece in the Browns offense as a threat out of the backfield as a receiver. He also is expected to infuse energy into the Browns listless running game. He was drafted in the third-round out of the University of Miami with the 77th overall pick.
Pettine talked about the importance for Johnson getting reps, being a rookie.
“It’s important,” Pettine said. “He looked really good for us in shorts in the spring but the needs live reps. That’s asking alt of a rookie to put him out there week one with minimal full contact reps. these next two weeks are big for Duke.”
Pettine said Johnson is coming from a similar system to the Browns offense in college.
“That’s why we’re not panicky about Duke not being in there from a mental standpoint,” he said. “He’s far ahead of most rookie backs that I’ve been around.”
Johnson thinks he’ll be ready to play next Saturday against Tampa Bay.
"I think I can,” he said. “We're taking it day by day, I'll leave it up to the medical staff."
Johnson said he doesn’t think he’s behind mentally.
"I don't,” he said. “I think every day I wake up it's football. Whether it's raining, I think it really doesn't matter, it's football. I come out here, I compete, I play football something I've been doing since I was a kid.
“Missing time don't really set you back unless you don't take the right steps while you're out,” he said. “If you're lolly-gagging, not paying attention during the meetings doing things like that then it sets you back."
In just three seasons at Miami (Fla.) Johnson accounted for 5,526 all-purpose yards. His 3,519 rushing yards is the most of any former Hurricane running backs, eclipsing Ottis Anderson’s all-time record. The Hurricane’s list of former NFL running backs is a who’s who listed of backs including the likes of Anderson, Portis, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee, Alonzo Highsmith, Lamar Miller and Edgerrin James.
Pryor, Haden, Gilbert Out: WR Terrelle Pryor (hamstring), DB Joe Haden (hamstring), DB Justin Gilbert (hip flexor), DB K’Waun Williams (calf), DB Tashaun Gipson (calf) and DB Robert Nelson Jr. (hamstring) were all on the stationary bikes. Pettine said Haden could play if it were the regular season. DB Jordan Poyer (concussion) and FB Luke Lundy (concussion) were not practicing.
Pettine admitted that Pryor’s opportunities are getting smaller.
“As I’ve said before, he’s not guaranteed a spot and he’s got to play,” Pettine said. “That window narrows every day he’s not out there. I know he’s getting close until he gets out there. The good thing he’s been very engaged and knows what to do.”
Desir Returns: CB Pierre Desir (hamstring) returned to the practice field as did RB Shaun Draughn (hand). Draughn still was wearing a cast on his hand but did not have the red non-contact jersey on.
McCown, Shaw Update: QB Josh McCown took all the snaps after injuring his finger on his throwing hand in the game Thursday. QB Connor Shaw was on the practice field with a cast on his thumb. Pettine confirmed that Shaw has had surgery to repair ligament damage to the thumb on his throwing hand. However, Pettine said the team is waiting to see how long the prognosis if for Shaw to be out before making a decision to put him on injured reserve.
“We’re still working through the transaction process to see if it’s an injured reserve situation”