BEREA — Rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah got a few repetitions in team drills Wednesday afternoon, his first in pads.
He couldn’t wait to do some hitting.
“That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to, in terms of the physicality, in terms of the aggressiveness, to be able to display that and show the team what I can do,” the second-round pick out of Notre Dame said Wednesday morning after the walkthrough.
Owusu-Koramoah made his training camp debut Tuesday but was limited to individual drills. He missed the first five practices on the COVID-19 list after testing positive July 25. He said he stayed asymptomatic and feels 100 percent.
“After being quarantined for a couple of days, I’m just ready to get back out there as soon as possible,” he said. “I was always ready to get back out there.
“It was a downer, of course. … You’ve got to press through it and persevere through it.”
Owusu-Koramoah stayed involved through virtual meetings and at-home walkthroughs. He’d get the script and go through formations and alignments using fruit and small dumbbells to represent players.
“It doesn’t really put you behind,” he said of the missed time. “As long as you do the walkthroughs in the house and make sure you get an extra study in. It was actually a time I took advantage of, being able to open up the playbook even more and watch a lot of the practices and watch a lot of the games. It wasn’t a time where I had a setback or anything.”
Linebackers coach Jason Tarver said Owusu-Koramoah built a strong base during the offseason program.
“He’s a good note taker and he was with us for all of those spring practices,” Tarver said. “He asked really good questions and he’s been doing a really nice job. So he’ll be worked in and he’s got one spot right now to master and we’ll see how he does there.”
Owusu-Koramoah will work on the weak side, where Mack Wilson has been running with the starters. The Browns didn’t trade up to No. 52 to draft Owusu-Koramoah to keep him on the sidelines for long
“He’ll be a little bit more on the edges of the defense and he’ll also be matched up to use his really good skill sets of coverage, blitzing and all of those things,” Tarver said.
Owusu-Koramoah is among the top 10 favorites to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and said it’s attainable.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Everybody’s going to say ‘yeah’ and they have that desire to. The next step is to put that into action.”
Owusu-Koramoah has a few nicknames and said he’s good with them all: JOK, “Jock” and Wu.
A GOOD PLACE
Wilson made the play of practice Tuesday, intercepting Baker Mayfield in the end zone. The coaches say Wilson’s improved physically and mentally since a year ago.
“Mack is more flexible and more bendable,” Tarver said. “He is running really well. He is finishing to the ball well, which is our No. 1 thing for linebackers is run because we have to be able to run across the board. He has put himself in a position to compete by being in shape.
“He is in much better shape. He is lighter, but he has more lean muscle mass. Proud of the work he has done and excited to see where he is going.”
Owusu-Koramoah said he predicted the interception.
“I yelled it out. I said, ‘Get rich, Mack,’ and that’s basically get rich in terms of interception, PBUs, whatever you can get,” he said.
A BETTER PLACE
Wilson was excused from practice Wednesday, and had a great reason. His son, Mack II, was born.
“THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!!!,” he posted on Instagram. “The reason behind everything that’s about to happen from here on out.”
He was 5 pounds, 9 ounces and 18 inches.
DOING THE WORK
Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. practiced in pads for the first time but was held out of team drills. Receivers coach/pass game coordinator Chad O’Shea likes his attitude.
“I have been very impressed with Odell’s work ethic and the way he has approached this training camp,” he said. “We have had to opportunity to work with him on the field. Baker has had the opportunity to work with him, and they have worked very well together.
“I just continue to see a guy who is making the most of his opportunities here and wants to contribute very badly to us as a team. He understands that it is going to require a lot of work, and he certainly has done that.”
Safety John Johnson III and tight end Austin Hooper didn’t practice, and the team described them as under the weather.
** Running back Tre Harbison sustained a concussion Tuesday after a collision during seven-on-sevens. Stefanski talked to him and said he’ll be fine.
** Defensive end Takkarist McKinley (illness), linebackers Anthony Walker Jr. (knee) and Tony Fields II (foot), safeties Ronnie Harrison Jr. (hamstring), Grant Delpit (Achilles) and Sheldrick Redwine (ankle) and receiver Anthony Schwartz (hamstring) remained out.
** Cornerback Robert Jackson (illness) returned after missing a day.
The defense won the battle in the red zone Tuesday, and Stefanski singled out the tight coverage.
** Safety Jovante Moffatt, who’s working with the first-team defense due to absences, made a good break to intercept a pass from third-stringer Kyle Lauletta toward receiver Ryan Switzer.
** Cornerback Denzel Ward broke up a quick hook intended for receiver Rashard Higgins.