BEREA, Ohio— Joe Haden’s training camp didn’t end the way he wanted it to.
With about 30 minutes left in the final training camp practice open to the public, Pat Shurmur sent Haden to the locker room after heated words were exchanged between the player and the coach.
During a 7-on-7 passing play, Haden tackled rookie Travis Benjamin in the back of the end zone after Benjamin caught a pass from Brandon Weeden across the middle. Benjamin missed last week’s game with the Packers and had been nursing some undisclosed injuries.
Shurmur would not discuss the incident.
“I am not going to talk about it,” Shurmur said. “That’s between me and the player. I have a great deal of respect for Joe. He’s a great competitor and that’s between him and me. If you want the details, you’ll have to get them from Twitter.
“I only apologize for using bad language and fans were here to see it.”
A reporter started to ask a follow up question and Shurmur interrupted by saying, “Don’t ask.”
Mike Holmgren told STO in an interview after practice that Haden had been warned and was removed from practice for being ‘too rough’.
On most accounts, Haden has had an impressive camp with multiple interceptions and passes broken up.
“I think (Haden) has had a great camp,” he said. “He has challenged receivers and has had a great camp. Like I told Joe, you have to become the best Joe you can be.”
However, there has been a cloud hanging over Haden since rumors surfaced Aug. 8 that Haden failed a substance abuse test by testing positive for the drug Adderall. There has been no word from the NFL whether the rumors are true and if Haden will be suspended the standard four games or not.
“I haven’t heard anything, but if I did, I couldn’t say anything,” Shurmur said.
D’Qwell Jackson said if Haden is suspended, it will be a big blow to the defense which is already missing three starters in Phil Taylor, Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita.
“It will be a major hit if (suspension) happens,” Jackson said.
Shurmur said he wants the players to play fast, but his top priority is to try and avoid needless injury.
“It’s important that we practice smart,” Shurmur said. “You have to be able to practice at game speed, but I want all of our guys to make it to the horse race. Safety is important and all my thoughts revolve our players and our team. I think it is very important that we practice safe and we practice smart.”
Several of the players said the incident wasn’t a big deal.
“Boys will be boys,” Josh Cribbs said. “It’s football. It’s the nature of football. We love it. They will hug and make up. No problem.”
“Both guys realized after words were said,” he said. “Joe’s competing out there every down.”
Richardson Update: RB Trent Richardson, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Aug. 9, continues to rehab in the building in Berea. Shurmur was asked if there was any update on his return.
“He’s progressing very well,” Shurmur said. “I’d like to think he’s ahead of schedule. I think he’ll be out (at practice) soon.”
Shurmur was asked if there was a chance Richardson could play in the preseason finale a week from Thursday against the Bears but declined to make any predictions.
“I can’t say that right now.”
Shurmur has maintained that the plan is for Richardson to be ready for the season opener against the Eagles on Sept. 9.
QB Brandon Weeden said he hasn’t been able to do too much with Richardson, other than talk with him.
“Trent has had to pay rent in the training room he’s been in there so much,” he said.
Injury Update: A total of 13 players were missing from practice for the last day of training camp: DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), RB Chris Ogbonnaya, RB Trent Richardson (knee), DB Antwuan Reed, LB Chris Gocong (Achilles), LB Emmanuel Acho, DL Scott Paxson (knee), OL Oniel Cousins and DL Phil Taylor (pectoral). On the stationary bike were: TE Ben Watson, LB Scott Fujita (knee), DB Usama Young (hamstring) and DB Ray Ventrone (hamstring). DL Emmanuel Stephens was back at practice after missing a couple of days.
Training Camp Wraps Up: The Browns finished their training camp open to the public on Wednesday morning with most of the players and coaches signing autographs after practice.
“We have passionate fans,” Shurmur said. “Unfortunately, it was the last practice (open). I know it makes our players want to perform.”
Shurmur said the players will leave the hotel where they’ve been staying and return to their homes.
“Camp is camp,” D’Qwell Jackson said. “I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.”
Shurmur said the focus will now be on getting ready for the regular season.
“We’re on to the next phase of training camp,” he said. “We’ll now be doing more mock ups for the week of the regular season.”
WR Carlton Mitchell was one of the players who spent time with the fans after practice.
“Hands down the best fans in the NFL…Thank you #BrownsNation,” Mitchell posted on his Twitter account.
Follow Fred Greetham on Twitter @FredGreethamOBR