Kareem Hunt makes a contract stand; Deshaun Watson helps unify the team: What happened on Day 9 of Browns training camp

BEREA, Ohio — Kareem Hunt had a very eventful 27th birthday.

Shortly after practice ended, news broke that Hunt had withheld team drills from training camp as part of a contract dispute.

He wants an extension as he first told cleveland.com in Juneand makes his feelings known by participating only in individual exercises.

That doesn’t sit well with the Browns, of course, who will fine Hunt for his hold-in.

Under contract for up to $6.25 million in the final year of his two-year extension, Hunt wanted a new contract before camp started and told cleveland.com he wanted to end his career with his hometown, Browns.

The Browns, meanwhile, want Hunt out and win it this season after missing nine games with injury and COVID-19 in 2021.

Hunt, who led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards as a rookie with the Chiefs in 2017, is expected to play a big role with the Browns this season and could win his next contract with a blockbuster season.

But if the two sides remain at an impasse, Hunt could either be traded or released.

It would be unfortunate for both teams, because the Browns have a chance of reaching the Super Bowl this season if Deshaun Watson plays half the season or more, and Hunt should be part of that.

Hopefully everyone involved makes it through and Hunt will be back through the defenders soon.

John Johnson III credits Deshaun Watson for team closeness

Johnson lamented the gap last season between attack and defense, and credits Watson with helping bridge the gap amid his off-field issues.

“Everyone has a little part in that, but I’ll say at the start of the offseason when he took the guys on their little trip (to the Bahamas), I think that kind of sparked something for us. to bring everyone together,'” Johnson said. “We did something together on our day off. I won’t give you too many details, but a lot of guys came out and we had a lot of fun. So things like that always help translate on the pitch.

Johnson believes they are “much closer” as a team this year.

“The more connected team usually wins when you go to bed late in games,” he said. “You need that little extra push, the extra chemistry with each other to get over this hump. … We all gel much better. I don’t know if it’s because of COVID. We’re all in the same locker room now, but guys I’ve never spoken to before – literally, we’re on the same team around each other every day – and I may not have talked to them. I talk to them now and it ripples through the whole team.”

More team building in Jacksonville

Stefanski, who broke up minicamp by taking the team to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, is taking the players to Jacksonville early for more team-building activities. They will fly out Wednesday after practice and travel to Jacksonville on Thursday. The game is Friday at 7 p.m.

“Really, no matter where we were playing, I wanted to start early and have team activities,” Stefanski said. “There are some things that I think we can do there and take a look at Jacksonville, which I think the players will have a great experience to do. It just gives us the opportunity to make some team building drills Just being together, I felt like week 1 (of pre-season) was the right time to do it.

Three receivers return to practice; we will ‘run out of time’

Three receivers returned to practice on Saturday in David Bell (foot), Anthony Schwartz (knee) and Javon Wims (illness).

One, sixth-round pick Michael Woods II, “will miss time” with his hamstring injury suffered Wednesday, Kevin Stefanski said.

The return of Bell and Schwartz, in particular, was a welcome sight for the Browns, as both are slated for big roles this season. Stefanski thinks they’ll make up for it quickly due to the number of reps in the offseason program.

Stefanski didn’t rule them out for Friday night’s preseason game in Jacksonville.

The trio’s return allowed Stefanski to give Amari Cooper a veteran day off.

injuries

The following players were inactive with injuries: DT Sheldon Day (back), CB Denzel Ward (foot) and Woods (hamstring). Defensive end Stephen Weatherly has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and will undergo season-ending surgery. He was replaced by defensive end Chris Odom, the former USFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Defensive end Alex Wright entered the field with coaches, but came back and participated in an 11-on-11.

They said it

Johnson on Nick Chubb: “Just power, just like explosiveness. You don’t want to get in front of him. I think I played him a few years ago, and it wasn’t fun. It’s just an ability Weird physique he has, and he doesn’t waste a move. He gets straight to the point and goes through holes. It’s amazing to watch.”

Bill Callahan, on Wyatt Teller saying he’s not afraid to get in the big linemen’s face for a smaller guy: “No. No. He’s getting a little prettier. We all know Wyatt, right?

They did it

TE Zaire Mitchell-Paden punctuates the practice with a red-zone TD catch from Josh Rosen, and shouts “this is how you end a practice!”

The Browns were happy to see Bell back on the court.

Greg Newsome II, determined to get picks this year, got two on Saturday.

Martin Emerson has a lot of work with those Ward came out of.

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