Center JC Tretter missed all of training camp after knee surgery Aug. 13 but returned to practice Monday as preparations began in earnest for the opener Sunday in Baltimore.
Tretter, 29, hasn’t missed a game in three seasons with the Browns, playing through a high ankle sprain and other injuries.
“It was good to have JC back out there,” coach Kevin Stefanski said after practice was moved inside and reporters weren’t permitted to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. “Not going to get into the extent to which he was back out there, we’ll deal with that on Wednesday. But good to have him out there in his pads.”
Rookie fifth-round pick Nick Harris replaced Tretter with the starters from Day 1 of camp and impressed. But Tretter has faced the Ravens six times during his time in Cleveland and is one of the smartest players in the league.
“Obviously JC’s a veteran, he’s seen a lot of football,” Stefanski said. “There’s value in that. He’s a leader of the football team. So really good to have him out there today.”
The Browns play again Thursday Sept. 17 against the Bengals — two games in five days — so the Browns will likely take that into consideration when deciding if Tretter will play against the Ravens.
** The Browns remained without two of their top three cornerbacks, as Greedy Williams (shoulder) and Kevin Johnson (lacerated liver) didn’t practice. But M.J. Stewart Jr. (hamstring) did return after missing nearly two weeks.
Terrance Mitchell has replaced Williams with the starters, and Tavierre Thomas had moved up two spots to the No. 1 nickelback in the absence of Johnson and Stewart.
“Tavierre comes up, comes to practice and just works,” Stefanski said. “Love watching that guy out at practice, whether it is a defensive drill or a special teams drill. He is all about ball. His teammates love him, and I think it is from just how he attacks every single day.”
** Starting middle linebacker B.J. Goodson remained absent from practice as he deals with a personal issue, but Stefanski said he’s expected back soon.
“B.J. has been great for us in the meeting room and on the grass,” Stefanski said. “He is just a very high-energy player. You hear him before you see him. I am really excited about what B.J. brings to our defense.”