BEREA — Pro Bowl kick returner Joshua Cribbs vowed Monday to do everything he can to be ready to play Sunday in the season opener versus the Dallas Cowboys. That may not be enough to convince the trainers and coaches to let him step on the field.
“I feel like I’m making a lot of progress,” he said before practice. “I’m doing everything I can do to get back out there on the field, to be able to play for this game. But it’s not up to me. They’re going to do what’s best for me and the program.
“They’re going to make the judgment for me.”
Cribbs suffered a high ankle sprain Aug. 18 versus the Giants. He limped off the field and hadn’t returned until Monday, when he participated in a special teams walkthrough before heading back inside the training facility.
“A guy held my ankle and fell on it and everybody fell on it at the end of the play,” he said of the injury.
Cribbs said he got the walking boot off a couple of days ago, but it stood at his locker Monday. He said he’s done some running and cutting and had his ankle heavily wrapped during his 25 minutes at practice.
“My competitive side, I want to be out there with my team,” he said. “Where they’re coming from is we’ve got 15 other games after this. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready.
“If you are, you are. They’re going to make an assessment as the week progresses.
“It’ll probably be a game-time decision.”
Receiver Syndric Steptoe would handle the kick returns in Cribbs’ absence, and rookie cornerback Gerard Lawson would take over the coverage duties. Steptoe bruised his shoulder Thursday in the preseason finale, but practiced and said he’s fine.
“We’ll put a Band-Aid on it and line him up,” coach Romeo Crennel said.
Right guard Ryan Tucker practiced with the team for the first time since breaking his hip in May. He was limited in practice, but wore pads and did some individual drills.
“It’s day by day,” he said. “I’m very anxious. Nobody likes starting the season on the sideline, that’s for sure. I’ll try my hardest to get back out there.”
Rex Hadnot had started in Tucker’s place the entire preseason, but sprained a knee Thursday. Crennel said Hadnot didn’t need surgery, but he’s expected to miss at least this week. Seth McKinney will get the start if Tucker can’t go.
“I’m not going to put myself or the team in a situation where I’m on the shelf again for another six weeks because I’m rushing something,” Tucker said. “When I’m back in there, I’ll be ready.”
Safety Sean Jones said he first experienced swelling in his right knee after the preseason opener Aug. 7, then again after the Giants game Aug. 18. He’d been held out of practice since, but returned Monday.
“It’s getting there,” said Jones, who missed his rookie year following surgery on the left knee. “I’m just going out there, trying to loosen it up. It’s time to go now.
“I think I’ll be able to go. Sitting out the last two preseason games was kind of precautionary.”
Brodney Pool, the other starting safety, is questionable with a concussion and didn’t practice. Mike Adams is the third safety.
Rookie linebacker Beau Bell, a fourth-round draft pick, returned to practice for the first time since arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 7. He said he had been battling tendinitis in both knees, which eventually got worse and forced the surgery on the right knee.
He missed the entire preseason.
“I have two good wheels now, so I can roll fine,” he said.
Bell was a candidate to be placed on injured reserve and be lost for the season. But he healed quickly, hit the field Monday and could be active for a game within the first couple of weeks.
“I was real worried,” he said. “I’m really happy I made the roster.”
The Browns were awarded guard Scott Young off waivers and waived rookie guard Nathan Bennett. Young appeared in 13 games in three years with the Eagles. The Browns added Bennett to the practice squad.
• Receivers Steve Sanders and Lance Leggett, defensive lineman Melila Purcell, safety Travis Key, linebacker Titus Brown, running back Omar Cuff and offensive lineman Christian Gaddis were also signed to the practice squad. Sanders, Leggett, Purcell and Key were with the Browns in training camp.
• Denver signed former Browns receiver Travis Wilson to its practice squad.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.