Thursday Afternoon Browns Report

We've gotten so used to getting the Browns info out first here that it's a ho-hum thing. Well, here's some more stuff you will learn first from (1) Butch Davis' reaction to questions about Aaron Shea's shoulder. (2) KJ's reaction to Rush Limbaugh's comments on his pal Donovan McNabb. Plus, fun facts and injury info. Check it out...

BEREA – Aaron Shea won't suit up when the Browns play in Pittsburgh Sunday night.

Coach Butch Davis announced after Thursday's practice that Shea won't be available because of what has been listed as a shoulder injury. Davis refused to say how Shea was hurt and to what extent Shea is hurting.

The news means that the Browns will face the Steelers without an H-back. With the recent release of Kevin McLeod, there also isn't a fullback on the roster.

Asked how he plans to compensate for Shea's absence, Davis again begged off the issue. Look for the Browns to make extended use of a spread offense.

PLAX-I-COULD? Although Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress is listed as questionable with a hip pointer, word out of Pittsburgh is that he will play. Burress is second to Hines Ward in receiving with 22 receptions for 351 yards.

RUSH REAX: The Rush Limbaugh saga was a topic in the locker room Thursday. Kevin Johnson, who is a close friend of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, has a special interest in the story.

Limbaugh, a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host, said that the media wants McNabb to be successful because he's black. Limbaugh also suggested that McNabb is overrated.

"The facts of the issue weren't accurate," said Johnson, who played with McNabb at Syracuse University. "How can you question a guy's ability when he's done all those things? He's led his team to the NFC Championship twice. He was the runner-up for the MVP. He (Limbaugh) should be criticized for not knowing the game of football.

"When you make those comments, look at the factual information. When a guy does that, he's an okay player at the worst. Someone saw some talent to give him over a $100 million contract."

Johnson doesn't know if Limbaugh should have resigned.

"Resigning has nothing to do with it," Johnson said. "He made his statement and he moved on. The worst people to me are the people that don't say anything. They walk around and don't express themselves. I actually respected the guy for stating how he feels."

Davis scoffed at the suggestion that McNabb is overrated.

"I faced Donovan McNabb when I was at the University of Miami. He played pretty good those two games," Davis said. "I wish that Syracuse hadn't had him."

HOLCOMB ON HOLD: Quarterback Kelly Holcomb came through Wednesday's practice in good shape. Holcomb said he's hasn't been told that he'll be Tim Couch's backup Sunday, although he anticipates that will be the case.

FUN WITH STATISTICS: The Browns are ranked third in the AFC in red-zone defense, allowing 29 points in 10 trips by opponents inside the 20-yard line. The defense has allowed the fourth fewest first downs per game in the AFC and the sixth fewest in the NFL.

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