BEREA — Free safety Damarious Randall has been in pain since jumping to make a play in the second quarter of the Saints game Sept. 16 in New Orleans’ Superdome.
“There was something wrong with their turf,” he said Wednesday. “It felt like I landed on some bricks at some point in time.”
Randall described the injury as a “bad, bad” bruise, but it hasn’t kept him from playing — in pain.
“I’m a football player, bro. I just play football,” he said. “That’s just something I’ve been accustomed on doing is playing through injuries ever since I’ve been in the league and really ever since I’ve been playing football my whole life. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help my team win games.”
Coach Hue Jackson said Randall played on “one foot” Sunday in the 45-42 overtime loss to the Raiders. He still managed to play 83 of 92 defensive snaps, make six solo tackles and return an interception 50 yards to set up a touchdown.
“He is not going to hurt it any more than what it is hurt, and he can play with pain,” Jackson said of the decision to keep Randall in the lineup. “That is what he has done the last couple of weeks and done some good things in the last couple of weeks. We do not want to take two interceptions off the field. And he has made some huge plays for us and covered some guys. Even 80 percent Damarious Randall is really good for our football team.”
Randall didn’t practice Wednesday and his practice time has been severely limited since the injury. He wants to be on the field to build chemistry and said he “can’t really wait” to be able to practice, and in the meantime spends his time taking mental repetitions.
He has 19 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed and a fumble recovery in four games but said the heel has kept him from making more plays.
“A lot. A lot. I feel like there were plays when I go back and watch the film that I knew I would’ve reacted differently on if I had been healthy,” he said. “But I’m not going to harp on that either because I’m on the field and I’m on the field to help my team win games.”
Jackson sensed the missed chances eating at Randall.
“I could see the frustration in him, but I just appreciate that he is fighting through it and doing it,” Jackson said. “The type of injury he has I think eventually it just kind of goes away. He has handled it well and has done everything for this football team.”
Jackson said he’s considering anything to improve the dreadful special teams, but that won’t include a coordinator change. Amos Jones is in his first year with the Browns.
“I do not think I need to do that,” Jackson said. “I think I need to take my experience that I have had and use it and go over there and help as I can, get other coaches on the staff and help and see if we can get better.”
Jackson has coached special teams in college and the NFL.
The Browns rank near the bottom of the key special teams categories. They’re 27th in punt return average (5.0 yards), 24th in kickoff returns (19.6), 29th in gross punting (42.1), 30th in net punting (35.9), 31st in field position on kickoffs received (22.1-yard line), 28th in field position on kickoffs (26.1) and tied for 27th in field goal percentage (66.6 percent).
Jackson said he’ll consider shaking up the personnel, including possibly using running back Duke Johnson as a returner.
Receivers Jarvis Landry and Callaway didn’t practice with knee injuries, but Jackson expects them to play against the Ravens.
“I have a great level of optimism,” he said. “I feel good about them.”
Randall and backup linebacker James Burgess (knee) were the others who didn’t practice.
Defensive end Myles Garrett (wrist), defensive tackle Trevon Coley (wrist) and quarterback Tyrod Taylor (back) were full participants.
Taylor was still dealing with the back injury against the Raiders and was inactive. Jackson said he’ll be the backup to Mayfield against the Ravens.
Jackson laughed when talking about why he went for three 2-point conversion against the Raiders.
“No, it has nothing to do with analytics,” he said, apparently taking a shot at former head of football operations Sashi Brown. “It has to do with personnel, feel and the things that we do in practice. I feel good about those opportunities when we take them that we have a good chance to make them.”
** Cornerback Arrion Springs was signed to the practice squad. He filled the spot created when cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon was promoted to the active roster Tuesday after cornerback Terrance Mitchell was placed on injured reserve with a broken wrist.
Springs (5-11, 208 pounds) is an undrafted rookie out of Oregon. He spent the offseason and preseason with the Chiefs, then was on practice squads with the Chiefs and Saints.