BEREA — Offensive line coach Steve Marshall walked into the locker room Monday to catch up with an old friend he hadn’t seen in a while.
“What’s up, dog?” Marshall said. “It’s good to see you. You ready to go?”
“Yes, sir,” said Ryan Tucker, coming off a four-game suspension for testing positive for steroids.
Tucker, an 11-year veteran in his sixth year with the Browns, had been barred from the team since the regular season started. He said he worked out with a strength and speed coach and listened to the games on radio.
“It was hard,” said Tucker, who attended meetings and will begin practice Wednesday. “Obviously you just have to take your medicine and go on with it. I’m really excited to be back in the building, especially after a huge win.”
Tucker has played right tackle in Cleveland. After the suspension was announced, he took a number of repetitions at guard. It will be interesting to see what the Browns do with him.
“We’ll check his conditioning and then we’ll make a decision at the end of the week to decide where he’s going to fit or if he fits,” coach Romeo Crennel said.
The Browns will play New England on Sunday but have until Monday to activate Tucker or release him, and can do either at any time. Tucker was a starter in camp before the suspension, so it would be a surprise if he’s let go.
If he stays, they could make room in the lineup or keep him on the bench for depth. The two choices in the starting lineup would be at right tackle or right guard, played by Kevin Shaffer and Seth McKinney.
In the past, the Browns would be desperate to add a proven lineman. But this line has allowed just one sack in the last three games, including a shutout of the tough Ravens’ pass rush. Tucker, who could add punch to the running game, said he didn’t know when or how he’d be used but said he’s willing and able to play anywhere. Tucker missed seven games last year with a mental disorder.
“I’m here to work,” he said. “I just do what I do. There’s no more stress, no less stress. Every week is a high-pressure week.”
The Browns came through the Ravens game in good shape physically. Guard Eric Steinbach left for a little bit with a shoulder stinger, but returned in the second half and said he’s fine. That was the only injury Crennel reported.
• Defensive end Orpheus Roye missed the game with an injured knee, but said there wasn’t a setback at the end of last week.
“I was just resting it,” he said. “It was tough watching. It’s one of them games you want to be in.”
Roye said he’d be able to play in New England.
• Tight end Kellen Winslow had a big game vs. the Ravens despite a partially dislocated shoulder, but he will have to continue to manage the injury. His left shoulder was heavily wrapped Monday and he was walking around with a machine that provides electric stimulation.
The defense gave up 418 yards to the Ravens, but the defensive backs kept the receivers in front of them and the Ravens settled for three field-goal tries in the first half, including two on trips inside the red zone.
“We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to tackle, but we were able to hold the score down, particularly early,” Crennel said.
The Browns used nickel and dime packages frequently, including a set that featured a lot of presnap movement with one lineman, three outside linebackers, an inside linebacker, three cornerbacks and three safeties. It was reminiscent of the “UFO” gimmick used by coach Chris Palmer and defensive coordinator Bob Slowik in 1999.
“When that works, that’s a good UFO,” Crennel said. “If it doesn’t work, then it’s a bad UFO.”
He let out a big laugh.
“We don’t call it the UFO,” he said.
Crennel gave game balls to cornerback Leigh Bodden (interception), running back Jamal Lewis (touchdown vs. former team), Winslow (four catches for 96 yards) and tight end Darnell Dinkins (forced fumble on a kickoff).
• Former Browns quarterbacks Kelly Holcomb (Minnesota) and Jeff Garcia (Tampa Bay) started Sunday, and Trent Dilfer (San Francisco) was an injury replacement.
• Nose tackle Ted Washington didn’t register a statistic (tackle, assist, quarterback pressure) in the coaches’ film review of the game.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.