BEREA — Ryan Tucker won’t guarantee a return to the lineup Monday night versus the Giants, but all signs point in that direction.
He lined up at first-team right tackle Monday in practice and coach Romeo Crennel said he expects him to be “in the mix.”
“I’m really excited about being back,” said Tucker, who broke his hip in the offseason and has yet to play in a game. “Every week it’s feeling more natural, more normal. I’m real close right now.
“If I’m on the field, I’ll be full speed. There won’t be any excuses, that’s for sure.”
Tucker spent his first five years with the Browns at right tackle, then moved to right guard for the second half of 2007. So the question is: Which position will he play now?
“I would like to know, too. I’m kidding,” he said. “I’ve been practicing at tackle most of the time, so it’s probably where I’ll come back and play.”
Kevin Shaffer has started the last 20 games at right tackle, but has struggled this year and suffered a concussion against the Bengals on Sept. 28. He said he’s feeling better but hadn’t been cleared to return to full practice.
“If Shaffer can’t go, then having Ryan would be a big plus for us,” Crennel said. “We know he’s capable of playing both positions. Whether it’s tackle or guard, he’ll do a good job for us.”
Rex Hadnot is the starter at right guard, and Crennel gave him a positive review.
“Hadnot’s playing pretty decent,” he said. “He’s a physical, aggressive guy in there. He’s able to hold his own. He’s one of our power guys and we know that he can get some movement, get off the line of scrimmage.”
Shaffer wouldn’t say how many concussions he’s had in his career, but it sounded like several.
“This is the same as all the other ones,” he said. “They’ve all been decently mild.”
Shaffer suffered the latest when he was on the ground and got kicked in the back of the head as a guy tried to jump over him. He didn’t return to the game and rested over the bye week.
“I didn’t have any major problems over the weekend,” he said. “I’ll do a little more every day and hopefully get back out there (to practice) in a couple days.”
Safety Sean Jones wants to play against the Giants, but it would be a week ahead of schedule.
“There’s a little hope. I’ll probably be a gametime decision,” Jones said.
Jones had arthroscopic knee surgery following the opener. He said he’s running in a straight line, but has yet to cut or tackle.
• Defensive lineman Shaun Smith said hand surgery last week went well and he should be able to play against the Giants. His left hand remains in a cast.
• Receiver Donte Stallworth (quadriceps) and linebacker Willie McGinest (hamstring) practiced.
Wide receiver Steve Sanders, a Cleveland native, was released and safety Hamza Abdullah signed Monday night.
The 25-year-old Sanders had played in the Browns’ first four games this season, making one catch for 18 yards. He had spent the previous two years on their practice squad, but did not play in his first NFL game until this fall.
Abdullah started the final eight games of the 2007 season for the Denver Broncos. The Washington State product made 48 tackles and had seven pass breakups.
The Browns also released defensive back Travis Key from their practice squad. It is expected that Sanders will take his spot later this week, provided no other team claims him off waivers.
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