BEREA — Receiver Kasen Williams, who was claimed off waivers Sunday, doesn’t expect a steep learning curve as he adjusts to a new team and new quarterback.
“My style of play isn’t a style where it’s pretty difficult for the quarterback,” Williams said. “Really what it is is just kind of throw the ball up in the air and I’ll go get it. Which isn’t that difficult.
“But I’m not going to sit here and say that and then say you’re going to expect me to have a great game right off the bat. It is going to take some time, but I don’t think it’ll be as difficult as people think.”
Williams (6-foot-1, 219 pounds) was “shocked” when the Seahawks waived him after leading them in the preseason with nine catches, 208 receiving yards and a touchdown. He said he turned the page when the Browns claimed him.
“That definitely got my hopes up, definitely got me back excited again, going in the right direction,” he said. “It’s a bit of a roller coaster of emotions, but I’m glad to be here.”
Williams, 25, is used to wild swings of emotion. He said he was projected to be an early round draft pick as a junior at Washington then suffered a serious and painful leg injury that changed the trajectory of his career.
Against California in 2013, Williams went up for a ball and came down on his toe with the cornerback’s weight on the back of his foot. All the ligaments in his foot tore and his fibula broke.
“So it was a bad one,” he said.
The recovery took a long time, he had a disappointing senior season, went undrafted in 2015 and failed a physical in Cincinnati because of a broken screw in his foot. He played three games with the Seahawks over the last two years with one catch for 8 yards.
“Just kinda taking the long road,” he said. “But I’ve definitely grown from that, I’ve definitely gotten better.”
Coach Hue Jackson said Williams has a knack for making plays on the ball anywhere on the field.
“He goes and gets the football. That is documented,” Jackson said. “He does it as well as anybody I have seen.”
Williams credits his leaping ability.
“I jumped a lot in high school, high jump, triple jump, long jump,” he said. “Just the ability to go off of one foot and go get the ball, timing it up at its highest point, getting to the point where it’s just me and the ball and the DB is just below me.”
Left tackle Joe Thomas was surprised and saddened to see a pair of longtime teammates leave when cornerback Joe Haden and offensive lineman John Greco were cut last week.
“To lose that depth really, definitely hurts,” Thomas said Thursday of Greco. “Especially if we get into a situation where somebody goes down, John would be a guy who’d be able to fit in wherever he needs to and pick up right where somebody left off. Losing that is really tough.”
Thomas said he hadn’t heard any whispers about Haden being cut before he was and signed with the Steelers.
“It was a big surprise,” he said. “It’ll be tough seeing him in the yellow and black.”
Defensive end Tyrone Holmes made the initial 53-man roster Saturday, was waived Sunday and re-signed Thursday morning following Myles Garrett’s high ankle sprain Wednesday. That’s a lot to go through in a week.
“It’s tough,” Holmes said. “We all put our heart and soul into this, and it’s tough when you feel a sense of rejection.
“It’s how the business works. We all sign up for it. We know what we get ourselves into, so at the same time, we can kind of understand it.”
Holmes had two sacks in the preseason and is expected to play in a rotation against the Steelers on Sunday in the opener.
The Browns are back down to three quarterbacks after waiving Josh Woodrum. He was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
** Thomas practiced fully after resting Wednesday.
** Left guard Joel Bitonio (knee), defensive tackle Danny Shelton (knee) and defensive end Nate Orchard (groin) remained limited. Fullback Danny Vitale (ankle) was a full participant after being limited Wednesday.
** Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (shoulder) was limited after not being listed on the injury report Wednesday.
** Offensive lineman Zach Sterup was cut to make room for Holmes.