BEREA—The Browns were on the field for their first official practice of 2011 and for Browns’ player rep Scott Fujita, it couldn’t have happened fast enough.
“Being out on the field felt like a sense of normalcy,” Fujita said. “It was a long process and that’s behind us.”
Pat Shurmur met many of the players less than 24 hours ago when players met for a team meeting at 7 p.m. Fujita said he sat down for his first face-to-face meeting on Friday.
“Me and coach go way back—since yesterday,” Fujita said laughing. “It was just my first conversation with him and he just has a good temperament about him He sets everybody at ease. His message was simple and clear and that is: just win.”
Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis concurred.
“Coach’s message was that he wants us to be a passionate, productive football team,” McCoy said.
“He’s a great guy,” Hillis said. “He’s a player’s coach, but he wants to win and that’s the biggest thing.”
Hillis is playing for his fifth different head coach in five years. After college, he had a new head coach in each of his first two years in Denver and now with the Browns.
Shurmur felt everything went as well as expected.
“I thought for the first day it went well,” Shurmur said. “There is plenty to clean up. We had good tempo and most of the guys are knocking the rust off.”
The Browns practiced from 10:30 to 12:40 in shorts and helmets in front of media. Sunday starts the first open practices to the public with a full practice from 8:45-11:15.
“For the most part, we’re just getting to know one another,” Shurmur said. “There are many new faces as it has been an abnormal off-season.”
McCoy felt the Browns accomplished a lot just by lining up.
“In general, we were lining up after starting install just 12 hours before,” McCoy said. “We had a few mistakes, but you expect that the first day. We will continue to work and make the reps count.”
Steinbach and Massaquoi on NFI List: OL Eric Steinbach and WR Mohamed Massaquoi are on the Non-Football Injury list. However, they can be activated any time according to Browns’ spokesman Neal Gulkis.
Shurmur didn’t disclose what happened to either player. Massaquoi was at the final workouts dubbed “Camp Colt” and had no apparent problem.
“There’s some question on when it happened,” Shurmur said. “We’re trying to let it settle down.”
Massaquoi was in a soft cast on his left foot and Steinbach had a brace on his left knee and he was limping noticeably when he was running on the side.
“We’re making sure (Massaquoi’s) just right before we put him out there,” Shurmur said.
He said the same about Steinbach.
“We’re making sure his knee is right.”
Shurmur was asked if either player would be placed on Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
Watson Dinged: TE Ben Watson was hit in the helmet after catching a pass and was taken to the locker room.
“He lost his footing on a route and took a knee in the back of the head,” Shurmur said.
On the Side:
K Phil Dawson, DB Usama Young, RB Brandon Jackson, TE Evan Moore, LB Marcus Benard and DL Brian Schaefering cannot practice until Aug. 4 when the new league season begins. DE Jayme Mitchell has agreed to terms, but wasn’t on the field. He falls under the Aug. 4 timetable.
Shurmur is excited for the additions of Young and Jackson.
“He’s a fine football player,” Shurmur said of Jackson. “He had over 600 snaps for a team that won the Super Bowl last year. The scheme fits him. He’s a sturdy looking guy.”
“We think he had a lot of production and played good ball in New Orleans,” Shurmur said of Young.
Jackson and Young are players who were on Super Bowl winning teams. Last year, Tom Heckert brought in Scott Fujita, Ben Watson, Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong as guys who fit the same type mold.
Fujita played with Young in New Orleans.
“He’s an exceptional athlete,” Fujita said. “His body type is well suited to be a safety. It was tough for him to break in to the lineup in New Orleans. He’s very versatile.”
Roster on the Fly:
Shurmur admitted the Browns roster is a work in progress.
“I think everybody is doing roster re-shaping,” he said.
With Eric Wright signing with the Lions, Shurmur admitted the Browns are looking at cornerbacks.
“We might look in that direction.”
Mitchell Not Official:
The Browns haven’t announced that DE Jayme Mitchell has signed, but Shurmur talked about him being a big signing.
“We feel he’s a terrific pass rusher,” Shurmur said. “He didn’t play much last year but we think he’ll be good in this system.”
Mitchell is expected to play left end.