Northcutt on hold

Forget about seeing Dennis Northcutt in uniform on Sunday when the Browns host the Detroit Lions.

Butch Davis officially ruled the second-year receiver out of action because of a bruised shoulder he suffered in the preseason finale Aug. 31 against Carolina. Northcutt practiced in full pads this week for the first time since suffering the injury, but it appears a possible return date will be the following Sunday in Jacksonville.

The news was better for offensive guard Tre Johnson, who had surgery on a finger last week. Johnson was limited in his practice time this week, but he's scheduled to start. Johnson has been wearing a brace on his knee that was surgically repaired last October, but for now that isn't expected to keep him down.

The Lions are hurting in the secondary. Safety Kurt Schulz is out with a back injury, and cornerback Bryant Westbrook will be sidelined with an Achilles injury.

Lions receiver Herman Moore missed practice time with a hamstring injury. Offensive tackle Aaron Gibson twisted an ankle in practice on Thursday.

When the Browns are ready to charge the field on Sunday, they will receive a pep talk from former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano. It's hard to find a coach who can speak more inspirational words than Rutigliano, who has been coaching in NFL Europe in recent seasons.

The Browns continue to ask that fans arrive as early as possible for Sunday's game because of pregame festivities that will honor victims of last week's acts of terrorism. Gates will open at 10 a.m., and fans ideally should be seated by 12:15 p.m.

Players will be part of the festivities.


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