BEREA— Browns cornerback K’Waun Williams was mysteriously absent from practice in Berea on Friday afternoon, leading to questions of his whereabouts for head coach Mike Pettine as the workout came to an end.
Pettine had an answer— Williams was out with a concussion— but the details surrounding the injury were a bit unclear.
“We’re not sure,” Pettine said, when asked when the concussion took place. “He complained of headaches yesterday and we had him evaluated and they went ahead and chose to just be cautious and put him in the protocol.”
This concussion is the third Williams has suffered within a calendar year, which elicited concern from Pettine and others, including Joe Haden.
“He’s had a couple injuries before, so with that, I’m more worried about his health,” Haden said. “I know he would want to be out there with us, so for him to not be out there, I just want to make sure he’s okay.”
The Browns might be in wait-and-see mode with Williams and his future status, but for Sunday, Pettine knows who will be replacing the nickel.
“(Pierre) Desir for sure and then (Johnson) Bademosi has played corner the lion’s share of this week,” Pettine said. “We trained him last year as a safety, so we know he can always bump back there and take reps. We wanted to kind of have him be that half defender, where he can give us half a safety, half a corner.”
Though he’ll be asked to mirror Williams’ production, Desir, the Browns 2014 fourth-round pick, is confident in his abilities and is grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m just blessed that the coaches have enough faith to put me in there,” Desir said. “I have great confidence in myself. This is year two in the system, so I feel a lot more comfortable than I did the year before.”
Haden too has confidence in Desir as well as in cornerback Tramon Williams, who will more than likely move around the secondary in Williams’ absence.
“Tramon, he’s been in this league for a while, so coaches, they believe in him. He can switch into the nickel spot,” Haden said. “Pierre, he’s been working his ass off ever since OTAs. He just does everything the right way and goes hard, so I think he’s definitely going to be ready to step in on the outside.”
He might have strong faith in the ability of Williams and Desir, but Haden did discuss what losing Williams means for the Browns secondary.
“He means a lot to the secondary. K’Waun’s a guy that was undrafted, so he works super-hard. That ‘Play Like a Brown’ thing, that’s all K’Waun does,” Haden said. “He goes out there, goes hard, knows his assignment, alignment, and he locks up the slot guys.”
It may be that Williams’ loss becomes a big one for the Browns, but Haden knows the team can’t spend time dwelling upon his absence.
“It’s going to be real unfortunate that he can’t go and be out there,” Haden said. “But like we always say, ‘Next man up.’”
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