Just a couple of hours after Joe Banner was introduced as CEO, a couple of political dignitaries visited practice.
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talked with new owner Jimmy Haslam, then addressed the team. They drew polite applause.
Ryan also inspired some laughs when he confused quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy. He was talking to McCoy as if he were the starter and had gone to Oklahoma State. He is the backup and went to Texas.
“He’s got a lot more important things on his mind right now,” Weeden said. “It was a good laugh.”
Rice grew up a Browns fan and has visited team headquarters on multiple occasions. Ryan is from Wisconsin, as is Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, and they spoke for a couple of minutes. McCoy posed for pictures and was the last player to return to stretching.
Ryan and Rice were joined by Sen. Rob Portman and about 30 members of the political press corps. None of the politicians was made available to the local media.
Ryan and Rice had a campaign stop at Baldwin Wallace University in the morning.
Haslam has deep ties to the Republican Party as a contributor, and his brother, Bill, is the governor of Tennessee.
** Running back Trent Richardson (rib cartilage) practiced during the 20 minutes open to the media and looked good running. He was hurt Sunday in the win over the Bengals and left the game.
** The Browns were as healthy as they’ve been in weeks for practice.
Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring) returned after missing three games. Receiver Travis Benjamin (hamstring) practiced after missing the last two games.
Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and rookie safety Tashaun Gipson (knee) were also back. Rubin sat out one game and Gipson two.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden practiced after getting his foot stepped on Sunday. He said Monday he was fine.
Left guard Jason Pinkston participated after leaving the Bengals game with an illness.
** Linebacker Scott Fujita (neck/shoulder) and nickelback Dimitri Patterson (ankle) were the only players not at practice. Fujita is consulting a specialist for the neck injury, which may be career-ending. Coach Pat Shurmur wouldn’t elaborate.
** Defensive tackle Phil Taylor was eligible to return to practice, but didn’t. He tore a pectoral muscle in May and is on the physically unable to perform list. Shurmur said the rehabilitation is on schedule and Taylor will return to the field soon.