BEREA — Brandon Weeden and wife Melanie have important plans for Memorial Day Weekend. They’re back in Oklahoma to help with the cleanup following the tornado that devastated Moore.
“It actually went right through my wife’s hometown,” Weeden said Thursday after practice. “Fourth Street, the path they keep talking about, my mother-in-law lives on Main, which is four blocks north of it, and my brother-in-law lives two blocks south of it. It went right over the top of them. Very, very fortunate to have no injuries and everybody’s safe. Obviously damage.”
Melanie was already in Oklahoma on Thursday, and Weeden was headed out Thursday night. He’s from Edmond, like Moore a suburb of Oklahoma City.
“I’m going home this weekend to help out, volunteer, do as much as I can,” Brandon said. “I know it’s tough, there’s so much devastation. But just to do my part, I feel like it’s the right thing to do, especially when it hits close like that with your wife’s family.”
Weeden said he didn’t know what he would do to help, but was expecting a text from friend and Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb with options.
“I’ll do anything, whether it’s getting in the rubble and doing whatever, it doesn’t matter. I’ll be there to help,” Weeden said.
Melanie took reporters from Fox 8-TV on a tour of Moore.
“Seeing destruction on TV does not prepare you for seeing it firsthand,” she told Fox 8. “Doesn’t do it justice.”
Brandon said his brother-in drove away from the tornado, while his mother-in-law was in the basement of the school administration building. The father of receiver Josh Cooper, a teammate of Weeden’s at Oklahoma State, is a construction manager and had to take cover. Cooper is from Mustang, about 15 minutes away.
“Everybody is kind of helping everybody,” Cooper said. “We’ll be fine. We get through things like this all the time. Oklahoma strong, you know?”
Running back Trent Richardson didn’t practice with a strained muscle in his shin, and coach Rob Chudzinski said he could be out through mandatory minicamp the first week in June. That would mean Richardson’s next practice would be training camp at the end of July.
“It’s precautionary,” Chudzinski said. “We are holding him out. He may miss minicamp in a week and a half. I’m not sure. We’ll just take it day-by-day.”
Richardson worked out on the side, then watched practice. He played 15 games as a rookie last year, but had arthroscopic knee surgery that cost him the preseason, then played much of the year with broken ribs.
** Tight end Jordan Cameron was out with a pulled groin muscle, and Chudzinski said the team’s being cautious.
** Defensive end Desmond Bryant missed practice on a legal matter, Chudzinski said. Bryant was charged with criminal mischief after an incident in Florida in February.
Billy Winn took his spot with the first-team defense.
B-JAX IS BACK
Running back Brandon Jackson carried eight times in two years with the Browns. He was re-signed this week.
“I’m just blessed to be back, I just have unfinished business here,” he said.
Jackson, who’s strong as a receiver and pass protector, signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal in 2011 but missed the whole season when he was placed on injured reserve with turf toe. He was healthy for 2012, but rushed for only 54 yards.
“That’s two years out of six you didn’t play,” Jackson said. “You want to get back out and prove to the coaches that you can still play. That’s what I’ve been fighting for these last two years.
“It was tough. Just kept my head on strong. Just a lot of praying, a lot of praying got me through it.”
The Browns have stockpiled running backs in the offseason. In addition to holdovers Richardson, Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya, they traded for Dion Lewis and signed rookie Miguel Maysonet.
“It’s competition. You can’t shy away from competition,” said Jackson, who added he likes the new offense.
“I always felt like you can’t have enough good running backs,” Chudzinski said. “He’s a proven guy who has had production in the league. He has been able to have good production catching the ball as well.”
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor provided an update on the kicker situation following the departure of Pro Bowler Phil Dawson. Veteran Shayne Graham and rookie Brandon Bogotay are competing for the job.
“I’m pleased with both of those guys,” Tabor said. “Both are very professional, both work at their craft.”
Bogotay has never kicked in the NFL and was a backup at the University of Georgia.
“He has a very strong leg and his consistency has been good,” Tabor said. “He’s a guy who is still developing, still working on things. He’s still getting more clubs in the bag so to speak and he’s doing it. I have been real pleased with how the ball is coming off his foot. Mentally, he’s been real solid.
“The ball jumps off his foot. He’s got talent.”
T.J. Conley and Spencer Lanning are battling for the punter job. Reggie Hodges wasn’t re-signed.
“They both have big legs,” Tabor said.
Tabor is also auditioning returners to replace Joshua Cribbs. Travis Benjamin appears to be the front-runner, and Buster Skrine, Johnson Bademosi and Dion Lewis will get chances.
Jimmy Haslam addressed his fellow NFL owners at a league meeting Tuesday. He wasn’t scheduled to speak, but asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for five minutes.
He explained the situation at Pilot Flying J following a raid of its headquarters by the FBI and IRS and apologized for any damage done to the NFL brand, USA Today reported.
“I know he feels a sense of embarrassment,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “He said they’re going to do everything they can to get it under control and put it behind them, and that he felt bad for the attention that it brought to the Cleveland franchise and the NFL, and he was going to make it right.”
Haslam repeated what he told a group of trucking companies last week — that he wasn’t involved in the scheme that allegedly cheated companies of their proper rebates.
“I thought it was important,” Haslam told USA Today after the meeting. “We’re partners in the NFL. I wanted to address them face-to-face.”
Haslam was unanimously approved as owner in October. He had spent three years as a minority shareholder with the Steelers.
“I felt like it’s nothing Jimmy would become involved in,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said. “I feel like I know Jimmy. He’s not someone who’d be breaking the law.”
Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden, a third-round pick, practiced after missing last week because San Diego State was still in school.
** The Browns signed receiver Tori Gurley after waiving quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. Gurley (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) was signed by Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent the year on the practice squad. He signed with Baltimore on Jan. 1 and was waived May 13.
** The outside linebackers flopped sides, with Paul Kruger on the right and Jabaal Sheard on the left. Chudzinski said the coaches are trying players at multiple positions in multiple spots.
** The filming of “Draft Day” continued at team headquarters, which was bustling. The movie features Kevin Costner as Browns general manager.
** Weeden hit Benjamin on a fly route behind Skrine for a long touchdown to cap a two-minute drill.
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