For the first time in about a year running back Montario Hardesty was in a Browns uniform, running the ball, and taking contact. Hardesty missed all of last season after tearing an ACL in his first preseason game. He'd been held out of drills all Training Camp, until today. He could play in Friday's preseason game against Detroit.
Hardesty and Coach Pat Shurmur's transcripts from today:
(On if today was a big day for him)- "It was fun to get back out here and to start getting back to football mode and get things going again. I had fun."
(On if he thinks about being hit in his knee)- "I am really just out there planning on football. I am really not thinking about that. I think of the things we have been doing in the last couple weeks, all the extra running, cutting, just getting into my comfort zone with spins. I was doing cuts that you might do every week in a game. Coming back out here on the field, everything is feeling natural."
(On if he was surprised he was held out for a couple weeks)- "I'm not saying it was a surprise, it was just going with the plan that was set. I felt like I've been getting good work in all of these days of training camp. What is this day 12? We're just going to keep going on the up and up."
(On if he feels like a rookie)- "I don't know if I feel like a rookie but I definitely had the jitters, just getting back out to practice and getting with the guys. I get the jitters before every practice and every game. It's fun."
(On if he has full trust with his knee)- "Yes, like I said, I have been doing a lot of work this whole offseason. Just getting ready for the season and to come back this year stronger and ready to go. I feel good."
(Opening statement)- "First, before I get to the injuries, I'd like to apologies to the fans. We had so much rain yesterday and it was raining this morning. The forecast said it was going to rain even further. When we got here this morning, I made the decision we we're going to go inside. Well then, after the morning meetings, I came outside and walked around and found out that our fields actually held up and absorbed the water a little better than we thought they would, which is credit to Chris Powell and his crew. It's always better to practice outside if you can, so that's why we did it that and it was unfortunate we couldn't have the fans here today. Some of the guys that you didn't see out there today: Ben Watson felt his hamstring a little bit, nothing there just precautionary. Scott Fujita with a thigh, again precautionary. T.J. Ward had something with his tooth and he's at the dentist. Brian Schaefering got his foot stepped on today. You might have seen him limping or not taking as many reps at the end. Montario (Hardesty) was out there today. I know that's always been something we've talking about. It looked like he took some reps and did a good job. Firsts for everything and first for this team, especially the young guys, the day after a day off after a preseason game. We put them back in pads. It felt, naturally, a little slow getting started, but I think the paced picked up. There was pretty good banging. I think we got a lot of work done. As you can see there all out getting their extra stuff now. This is an important day, tomorrow and Wednesday of course to use them as padded days. As we get closer to Friday, we'll take them out of pads."
(On Hardesty getting back in to the mix)- "It was good to see him out there. He made a couple nice runs. He caught the ball out of the backfield in some of the passing drills. He actually made a real nice catch. He was running away and the ball was a little behind him so he pinned it on his fanny and then brought it around. He did a good job. It was good seeing him out there. I think he enjoyed being back at practice. We'll go in now and evaluate how he did and move forward."
(On Hardesty playing Friday)- "If he's ready to I would say. Right now, I don't want to make that commitment. I think there's a chance he might not."
(On if he has no apprehensions about Hardesty's knee)- "I'm not convinced of that yet. I think he's got to fight through that. I think you get that way by practicing."
(On if Hardesty being out affected any plans for Hardesty and Peyton Hillis playing in the backfield at the same time)- "No, we train the backs who are in the game. Again, who's in the backfield changes at times based on who is up and who is down. He'll get in there with our package with two half-backs. What it allowed was for those other guys to get more reps, which helped them."
(On his assessment of the game Saturday after watching the film)- "I think It was a good start. I'll just say that. There were plenty of mistakes in there. There were some times where the ball bounced our way. It was a good start. I just feel like there's some stuff to build on there. Behind the scenes, more things come up when you see a play that wasn't executed quite properly. On the field, you don't know if it was called that way or if guy's blew a gasket or whatever. After watching the tape some of those issues got cleared up. I have a better understanding of what exactly happened. I would still say it was a good start, but we have a long, long way to go."
(On Armond Smith getting 10 carries against Green Bay)- "He was playing in there with the three's and he was at the stage of the game in what we would call our ‘four-minute drill' so we were mounting clock and running the ball. He benefitted from that and I think he played fast. You could see on the sideline he was excitable and enjoying the experience. He did a nice job."
(On evaluating Shawn Lauvao's and Tony Pashos' run blocking)- "I don't necessarily want to be right-side dominated. I thought they did a good job for the most part. Anybody you ask, they'll probably tell you they have a handful of mistakes they have to clean up. There were a couple of runs in there that after they watch it now, if we re-ran those runs, we'd get more out of them. For the most part, the battled in there pretty well."
(On Billy Yates not being at practice)- "Billy Yates, again I wanted to finally go through this when I went inside. Billy Yates came in this morning and is contemplating retiring. We had that conversation this morning and he talked to me, he talked to Tom (Heckert). My understanding was he had thought it through. Before I mentioned anything I wanted to give him the respect of a couple hours to see if something had changed. Unless something changes, I think that this is the way it's going to go. I wasn't trying to hide it from anyone. In my mind, I didn't think it was quite final and there would have been a [press] release, I'm sure."
(On if Yates' conversation surprised him)- "It always does because Billy is a pro, a nine year guy. It surprised me a little bit. I like Billy. Billy's been doing a good job for us. From that standpoint it does. We all have to do what we have to do. I think he came to me with a clear mind. I was just going to give him these last couple hours to change it and go from there."
(On Mohamed Massaquoi being out of the boot and his expectations for practice)- "The next move is for him to be in a shoe moving around. However long it takes for him to then say ‘okay,' he's in there. We're hopeful soon."
(On his impressions of Colt McCoy after the weekend review)- "I thought he was efficient. I would stick with what I said after the game. I thought he saw what was going on extremely well. He was pretty accurate with his throws, pretty solid with his decision making. Again, once you have what you would consider to be a solid performance then it's all about consistency and I think he was right back on the stick this morning getting better at some things."
(On if Titus Brown is only a middle linebacker)- "Backup linebackers, and he's listed as a backup right now, tend to be a little bit where they have to play inside and out. I think in a pinch, yeah. He's a big heavy handed guy and he's a good MIKE linebacker."
(On if guys were energized today by their performance Saturday)- "Typically, after a game you get sore, then we gave them a day off and then they come out here in the morning and we throw them back in pads. I don't know if they're energized, but it sure was like moving cattle around to begin with (joking). It's just the way it is. I think they fought through it, but they needed a little bit of encouragement. There's a lot of ways to look at it, but there was work that needed to get done today. I feel like we got that work done. Hey, we're human, and there are times where that body doesn't want to go so well and I think they fought through it. Again, they're trying to do what we ask them to do and they call us coach for a reason because we push them through it."
(On Eric Hagg's surgery and how long he'll be out)- "Eric's slated to have surgery now or real soon so we'll see."
(On what happened to Carlton Mitchell's finger)- "He had a broken finger and they put some screws in there to stabilize it."
(On signing a safety as a result of Hagg's injury)- "If Hagg's going to be out, we're hoping not for a long period of time. We'll bring him in and see how he does."
(On D'Qwell Jackson's performance coming off all the missed time)- "He played in a game like I would have expected him to. He's been very sharp in practice. For the most part, he made his plays and he really directed the defense pretty well."
(On if T.J. Ward will only be out for a day)- "I think so. I'm going to get more of an update. He came in this morning with what I think they said was a tooth. But, then you have to go see the dentist, so we'll see. If you didn't know anybody, you'd think he got punched in the chin."
(On Carlton Mitchell returning by the regular season)- "We're hopeful. My understanding is it will be a couple weeks at the most. It's a matter of getting that finger settled down so he can get out here and compete."
(On if anything surprised him about calling the plays)- "No, I felt like we put together a plan the players could execute. I've worked the communicator before and I thought there was good communication with the coaches as far as moving forward and the plays that we wanted to call. I didn't sense anything there."
(On his thoughts about Joe Haden)- "He's enjoyable. I really enjoy being around him. He's challenging. You saw today he challenged and made a play on Greg (Little). Then Greg feels challenged and they go back and forth. He's fun. Regardless of how he feels he has a smile on his face and he's out here working. I think that's great."
(On if the expectation level raises for the other linebackers with Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita out today)- "Without really having a meeting, they slip up in there. They understand the urgency to perform well.
(On if they are thin at the linebacker position)- "I don't. I think we have guys in there competing that have a chance to make this team. From that standpoint, you're always factoring in guys that get banged up a little bit with the idea they'll be back."
(On if one of the young guys will break out at the wide receiver position)- "We're hopeful. I think you'll look for that in the games. I wouldn't say last Saturday there was anything too surprising from that group. There were guys that have been making plays consistently in practice that showed up. For the most part, I thought that crew did a good of job catching the football. Greg Little, there were a couple plays in there were he did a real nice physical job of blocking. You're always hopeful a young guy will shine. That's what we're waiting to see."