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Browns Notes: Center Cam Erving returning to practice after bruised lung, interested to see how he reacts to contact

BEREA – Center Cameron Erving will return to practice Wednesday after sustaining a bruised lung Sept. 18 against the Baltimore Ravens. He’s curious to see how he reacts.
“It’s just going to be really interesting just to see how I feel getting back into actual football,” he said Monday. “I’ve done sprints, but we’ll see how it feels getting back into football when somebody’s hitting me and I’m hitting somebody else.”
Erving said he feels “pretty good” after three weeks on the sideline.
“There’s definitely things you’ve got to fight through, but we’re past the point of worrying about my lung now,” he said. “So just pushing forward and just making sure I can do everything within my position and just get back out there and play ball.
“I’m definitely excited to get back out there. It sucks just watching.”
Coach Hue Jackson didn’t say if Erving is expected to play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but the plan is for him to regain the starting center job when he’s ready.
“More than likely, yes,” Jackson said. “That is where he has played and that is where he is coming back to get ready to go.”
Erving, the No. 19 pick in 2015, has struggled in his six starts in his year-plus. Right guard John Greco started two games at center in his absence, and Austin Reiter the other before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
Erving said he wants to be ready this week if needed.
“You go out there worried, you’re going to get hurt again,” he said. “That’s always been what I’ve been told, so I’m going to be smart, but I’m going to make sure I get the work that I need to get in and try to be ready to help the team this week. But at the end of the day be smart.”
The Browns claimed guard Jonathan Cooper off waivers. He was cut Saturday by the Patriots.
Cooper (6-foot-2, 302 pounds) was the No. 7 pick in the 2013 draft — a spot after the Browns took outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who was traded to the Patriots in the preseason. The start to Cooper’s career has been slowed by injuries. He missed his rookie season in Arizona with a broken leg and has been limited to 24 games, including two starts at left guard in 2014 and nine at right guard in 2015.
The Cardinals traded him to the Patriots in March. He was sidelined with a foot injury in training camp and only removed from the injury report last week.
The Browns placed Reiter on injured reserve and waived backup offensive lineman Anthony Fabiano, so they have an open spot on the 53-man roster.
Jackson doesn’t believe the Patriots found the blueprint to stop Cleveland’s running game, despite holding it to 27 yards on 22 carries Sunday.
“No, it is not a concern,” he said. “I’m sure you guys have all seen games where things just don’t go well sometimes. You don’t play as well.
“I think they did some things defensively that maybe we didn’t adjust to as well, but I think we could have played better. Our guys know that there is more there for us. I couldn’t even look at the stats.”
Greco said it was important to not hit the panic button after one bad game, and tight end Gary Barnidge said the Browns proved in the first four games – after which they led the league with 149.3 yards a game – they could have success on the ground when the defense was intent to stop it.
“Everybody knows that we can run the ball at any time,” he said.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick took his team to see the new Jim Brown statue outside FirstEnergy Stadium after the game. Belichick was effusive in his praise for Brown last week, but thinks he should have company.
“Honestly, I wish Paul Brown’s statue would have been right there with it, because we could have knocked out two birds with one stone,” he said. “It hits a little special chord for me when you think of Paul Brown, when you think of Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns — who are named for Paul Brown — and being in that stadium. Not because I was the coach there, but because of what Paul Brown and Jim Brown did for professional football in that city. It has a special place in my heart.”
The Patriots may have the best tight end tandem in the NFL with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett, but their giant day – a combined 11 catches, 176 yards and three touchdowns – was just the latest example of the Browns’ struggles trying to cover tight ends.
“We have to get up on them a little tighter,” Jackson said. “To me, man coverage means that — man guard your man. We have to do that better and with more confidence. People are going to keep exploiting that until we can get it slowed down and stopped. It is an area that we have an emphasis on and we are going to try to get corrected.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected] Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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