July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Rubin’s timetable for return uncertain

Brian Dulik

The Gazette

BEREA — Browns defensive tackle Ahytba Rubin isn’t concerned about missing the rest of the season with a calf injury, but admits he doesn’t know when he will return to action.

“I’m doing the best I can to get back on the field, and hopefully I’ll get back soon,” the 6-foot-2, 330-pounder said Friday. “I’m just taking it day-by-day right now. That’s all I can do. I don’t want to rush it and get another setback, so I’m just taking my time.”

Rubin, who was hurt on Oct. 7 against the New York Giants, has only played seven snaps in the last three games — all at Indianapolis two weeks ago. The four-year veteran removed himself from the Colts game early in the first quarter and says he will not play again until he is fully healthy.

“I went out there and I knew I wasn’t 100 percent,” Rubin said. “I felt like I was hurting the team, so it was better for me to get out, instead of staying in there and letting (Indianapolis quarterback Andrew) Luck keep on running touchdowns on us. It was best for me to sit down and let the young guys get a crack at it.”

While rookies Billy Winn and John Hughes have done a solid job filling in for Rubin and fellow defensive tackle Phil Taylor, Cleveland’s line is much stronger with the latter two players sharing the field.

Unfortunately, they have yet to do that this year.

Taylor was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and will play Sunday against Baltimore — just 5½ months after having surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle — but is not expected to start. The second-year pro took the roster spot of defensive end Emmanuel Stephens, who was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury that he suffered last week against San Diego.

The Browns also placed defensive tackle Brian Sanford on IR with a knee injury and promoted rookie defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron from the practice squad. Cameron played in three preseason games with Cleveland after being bypassed by all 32 teams in the NFL Draft.

“It’s all been positive since I came to Cleveland, so this is another step forward,” said Cameron, who was released by Chicago early in training camp. “I’m ready to help out any way I can.”

Until Rubin can return to the field, the Browns will dress five defensive tackles (Taylor, Winn, Hughes, Cameron, and rookie Ishmaa’ily Kitchen) and three defensive ends (Frostee Rucker, Juqua Parker, and Jabaal Sheard).

Winn has taken snaps at DE during practice and manned the position at Boise State, while Rucker said he expects to play on all three downs against the Ravens.

“We’ll have a rotation,” Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur said. “We’ll cover it up. I’m not concerned about that.”

Extra points

Marv Albert and Rich Gannon will call the Browns/Ravens game on CBS, which will air in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown; Baltimore; Harrisburg, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; and Richmond and Norfolk, Va.

l Cornerback Buster Skrine leads the Browns with six penalties, while tackle Joe Thomas is next with five. Skrine also has a team-high 88 penalty yards, putting him well ahead of linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who is second with 45.

l Cleveland’s odds of winning the AFC title have dropped to 250:1, according to offshore bookmaker Bovada. The Browns also had their Super Bowl championship odds reduced to 500:1 this week.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.