June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Browns: John Moffitt trade is voided

BEREA — The saga of John Moffitt will go down as an interesting footnote in Browns history.

The veteran guard was given a locker and suited up in a Cleveland uniform at practice Tuesday, but was promptly sent off the field by coach Rob Chudzinski before participating in a drill.

Several hours later, the Browns announced the trade that had brought Moffitt from the Seattle Seahawks had been voided because of concerns about his surgically repaired knee and ankle.

Cleveland regains the rights to defensive end Brian Sanford, who had been sent to Seattle one day earlier.

Completing the odd saga, the Seahawks promptly dealt the third-year pro to Denver in exchange for defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.

The Browns’ non-trade keeps rookie right guard Garrett Gilkey on their first-team offense and lifelong tackle Oniel Cousins as his understudy — until Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston return in late September.

“Coming from a small school, I definitely have a chip on my shoulder,” said Gilkey, who played collegiately at Chadron State, an NCAA Division II program in Nebraska.

“If anything, what’s happened is more motivation to keep getting better and refine my technique and my practice out on the field. I definitely have more to prove. I’m not going to settle, I’m not going to quit.”

Cleveland tabbed the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Gilkey in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, hoping to bring him along slowly.

Plans changed quickly when starter Lauvao underwent arthroscopic left ankle surgery on Aug. 9 and backup Pinkston suffered a right high ankle sprain Thursday against the Detroit Lions.

Suddenly, Gilkey went from standing on the sideline to going nose to nose with Detroit’s all-world defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh.

“There wasn’t time for me to react,” Gilkey said. “You just have to go out and do your job. Going against Suh definitely allowed me to get a better taste and a bigger feel for playing in this league.”

Lauvao and Pinkston, meanwhile, made their first public appearances since being injured. The former had a walking boot on his left foot, while the latter wore one on the opposite leg.

“It’s like anything else, you take it with a grain of salt and keep on rolling,” said Lauvao, whose ankle gave way during a one-on-one blocking drill against nose tackle Phil Taylor on Aug. 5.

“They had to go in and clean out some cartilage, bone and ligaments, but I’m glad it happened early in training camp. I’m using a crutch to get around and taking it day by day, but I know I’ll be back.”

Pinkston expressed relief his ankle injury wasn’t severe, nor was it as dangerous as the blood clots in his lungs last season.

“I was a little frustrated when it happened, but this is pretty easy compared to the blood clot,” Pinkston said. “It’s a physical game. Injuries happen. This is just another step in the road.”

Turn up the lights

The Browns play their third preseason game — and their first on the road — against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Chudzinski plans on using the contest as a final dress rehearsal for the regular season.

“With the exception of right guard, cornerback and the kicker and punter positions, we’ll start the group that we’re expecting and planning on starting at the beginning of the season (against Miami on Sept. 8),” the coach said.

Buster Skrine and Chris Owens are battling for the starting cornerback job opposite Joe Haden, while Shayne Graham will likely handle all the kicking at Lucas Oil Stadium as Brandon Bogotay has been limited to riding the exercise bike because of a groin injury.

Former Jets punter T.J. Conley and Spencer Lanning figure to each play one half against the Colts.

Cleveland’s fourth and final exhibition game is Aug. 29 at Chicago, but all of its key players are expected to be held out, as has become the norm around the league.

Major injuries

Running back Dion Lewis (left fibula fracture), who leads the Browns with 45 rushing yards in the preseason, will “likely” be placed on season-ending injured reserve, according to Chudzinski.

The third-year pro underwent surgery Monday to stabilize the bone, which was broken in Cleveland’s 24-6 victory over Detroit last week.

“We have until next week to make a lot of roster decisions, so there is no urgency to place him on IR now, but that’s probably where Dion is going,” Chudzinski said.

• Linebacker Barkevious Mingo (bruised lung) continues to undergo medical tests after being hurt against the Lions and will not play in Indianapolis.

There is no timetable for the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft to return to the field, but team officials continue to insist Mingo did not injure his ribs.

“Nobody really knows how long it’s going to take,” Chudzinski said. “It just depends how KeKe’s body heals.”

Minor injuries

Starting right defensive end Desmond Bryant (back spasms) blames the “wear and tear of training camp” for not being able to practice.

“I can’t say that any one specific thing happened,” he said. “I’ll be ready to play soon. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

• Cornerback Trevin Wade (right shoulder) has a sprained AC joint, but Chudzinski said he didn’t have enough information on the injury to project a return date.

• Safety Jamoris Slaughter (hamstring) was a full participant at practice. Chudzinski said he wants to take a long look at the sixth-round draft pick on defense and special teams. Slaughter is third on Cleveland’s official depth chart at free safety, putting him in danger of not making the team.


CBS has unveiled its broadcast pairings for the Browns’ first four regular-season games, which includes a nationally televised matchup with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

Marv Albert and Rich Gannon will call Cleveland’s games in Week 2 (at Baltimore) and Week 4 (vs. Cincinnati), while Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will announce Week 1 (vs. Miami) and Week 3 (at Minnesota). CBS lists Albert and Gannon as its No. 4 team, and Harlan and Wilcots as its No. 5 duo.

Quote of the day

“Brandon (Weeden) really earned it because Jason (Campbell) was on his butt every day.” — Browns running back Trent Richardson on Weeden being named the starting quarterback.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.