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Browns coach Pat Shurmur: RB Peyton Hillis not on trading block, was injured


BEREA – Browns coach Pat Shurmur tried to clear up a couple of things this afternoon in his news conference.

Running back Peyton Hillis was indeed injured Sunday in the 24-17 loss to the Raiders, and he isn’t on the trading block.

Hillis, who’s had a frustrating start to the season, injured his left hamstring in the first quarter. Shurmur said it was just a miscommunication that the injury wasn’t reported until well into the third quarter. The delay allowed speculation in the press box and on the Internet that he was being benched.

The league’s trading deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m., but Shurmur said the team’s not looking to deal Hillis, who totaled 1,654 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010.

Hillis felt a tweak in the hamstring early in the first quarter but continued to play into the second quarter, when he grabbed the back of his left leg on consecutive plays and was replaced by Montario Hardesty.

Hillis returned for two plays in the fourth quarter after telling the coaching staff he could help with blitz pickup, an area in which Hardesty was struggling. Hillis had an MRI today, and Shurmur said it’s too early to tell if he’ll be able to play Sunday vs. Seattle or how much time he might miss.

The drama hasn’t stopped this year for Hillis. He missed Week 3 with strep throat and on the advice of his agent, and admitted feeling unappreciated by the front office with the lack of a contract extension.

Other notes from Shurmur’s news conference:

** He said he has no problem with the idea of playing receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs on kick coverage. Cribbs complained after the game about being “insignificant” on offense and said he’d be more useful to the team returning to his role as an all-around special teams ace.

Cribbs hasn’t covered kickoffs the last two seasons, and the Browns gave up a 101-yard touchdown Sunday to Jacoby Ford.

Shurmur said he hadn’t talked to Cribbs since he made the comments, but understands the emotional responses that come after losses.

** Shurmur said quarterback Colt McCoy has a “high level” of confidence despite struggling through five games. Shurmur said McCoy does a good job recognizing blitzes, is allowed to audible and did so Sunday. CBS analyst Rich Gannon said it was “almost as if Colt McCoy is oblivious to their pressure” during the telecast.

** Linebacker Scott Fujita suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter.

** Special teamer/reserve safety Ray Ventrone strained a hamstring.

** Center Alex Mack (appendix) and linebacker Titus Brown (ankle) played and made it through the game OK.


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