BEREA — Freddie Kitchens will have many firsts as a new head coach. The latest was sending his veterans home for the summer.
He told them to stay out of trouble.
“Our message does not change from whether it is January or May or June,” he said Thursday as minicamp concluded. “We don’t have very many rules here. It is just to do the right thing, and we will be fine.
“They have to make the decisions, so hopefully they make good decisions.”
He conceded he’ll spend the seven weeks before training camp in late July worrying.
“The short answer to your question is, yes, I get nervous,” Kitchens said. “But I get nervous when my daughters walk to school. Yeah, I am always nervous. When they are not with me, I am nervous, just like my daughters.
“I would say that I trust them, too, though. I trust that they are going to do the right thing and I am going to trust them until they tell me that I can’t trust them, and they tell me that by showing me that.”
Kitchens’ break isn’t as long — the rookies won’t be dismissed for another three weeks — and said he’ll spend much of it in Cleveland. He’s looking forward to more quality time with his wife and two girls.
“One thing I pride myself on is if I am here, then I am going to work,” he said. “If I am not here, I am with my family. I am present wherever I am at, whether it be a horse show, sitting at home playing a game, or just talking to my family.”
Three minicamp practices, three first-team right guards.
Austin Corbett was with the starters Tuesday, followed by Eric Kush and Kyle Kalis. When they weren’t the starting right guard, they rotated at center and left guard with the backups.
“We are not even close to even deciding anything,” Kitchens said. “The offensive linemen need pads on before we can start determining anything like that.”
Kitchens said the rotation is also useful to test the interior linemen’s ability to play multiple spots.
Corbett was the No. 33 pick in the 2018 draft.
The Browns hosted Navy Undersecretary Thomas B. Modly along with multiple Navy officers and World War II veterans on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
In attendance were Westlake native Emory Crowder, a World War II Navy Corpsman and Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient; John Simanella, who was with the Army Air Corps and flew 30 successful combat missions; and Bob Allen, one of two surviving crew members from the USS Cleveland.
“I would like to start by saying to my core how appreciative I am of the guests that we had today,” Kitchens said. “What those guys did and the sacrifices they did, it is unbelievable. I read a couple of books concerning D-Day, and what those guys walked into without knowing is remarkable.”
Cornerback TJ Carrie left practice with an unspecified leg injury, but it’s not believed to be serious.
Carrie, who’s been the No. 1 nickelback, dropped to the ground without contact, grabbed the back of his leg and hobbled off the field. After being worked on by an athletic trainer, he stood up and looked fine, then walked into the facility.
He was replaced by Phillip Gaines.
** Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Duke Johnson did individual drills but didn’t participate in team drills. They aren’t injured, but the Browns were being careful after Johnson skipped the organized team activities and Beckham attended only one.
“We are going to make sure that we take care of our players until (the games) start counting,” Kitchens said. “That does not mean that they are not going to work their a– off when they are here, but we are not going to be stupid.”
** Safety Morgan Burnett and receivers Damion Ratley and Derrick Willies were among the group that didn’t practice during minicamp with injuries, but Kitchens said they’ll be ready for the start of training camp.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
Receiver Ishmael Hyman continued to get time with the first-team offense throughout the minicamp with Jarvis Landry watching and Beckham’s reps being limited. Hyman came from the defunct Alliance of American Football.
“He came in and worked his tail off,” Kitchens said.
** Undrafted rookie receiver Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi caught a touchdown from Drew Stanton.
** The Browns worked on end-of-game situations, including a desperation string of laterals.
** After a music flap Wednesday in which Myles Garrett unplugged the stereo during a Hank Williams Jr. song, the stretching session Thursday opened with Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” which was approved by Garrett.
Tackle Ka’John Armstrong (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) was signed to the roster after participating in minicamp on a tryout basis. He’s an undrafted rookie out of Eastern Michigan.
** Left tackle Desmond Harrison, cut by the Browns on Wednesday, was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals.
** Jamie “Scottish Hammer” Gillan punts left-handed but throws right-handed.