BEREA — The Browns raised money for ALS, and coach Mike Pettine got in a friendly shot at former boss Rex Ryan.
Everyone was a winner.
“Rex, I know you want to punch me in the face,” Pettine said Friday before participating in The Ice Bucket Challenge. “Anytime you want to go toe-to-toe, you know where to find me.”
Pettine then lined up with general manager Ray Farmer, president Alec Scheiner (in a suit) and several rookies and veterans to have buckets of ice dumped over their heads. The Browns accepted the challenge issued by the Jets and Ravens. Ryan is coach of the Jets and Wednesday tweaked Pettine while offering the challenge.
“I haven’t had a chance to punch him in the face, so that’ll be the next time,” joked Ryan, who hired Pettine as defensive coordinator in New York.
The Browns made a “sizable” donation in the name of former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance, who has ALS, and Jim D. White, a family friend of owner Jimmy Haslam who died from the disease.
“He’s one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever come across on this planet,” Pettine said of Brigance, who’s Baltimore’s senior adviser to player development.
Pettine looked no worse for the wear.
“I got lucky,” he said. “I’m sure when you review the tape, I was braced for it, I think the buckets, because they were filled with ice, they were a little bit heavy for the guys to lift. So I got some down the back, which was refreshing.”
Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel wasn’t so lucky. He was part of the original line, then veteran left tackle Joe Thomas picked up a full bucket and got him again.
“It was a target-rich environment,” Thomas said.
Pettine forwarded the challenge to the “Monday Night Football” crew of ESPN, especially play-by-play man Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden.
The last practice of training camp open to the public was Friday. The Browns announced 3,059 attended, bringing the total to 43,470 for the 13 sessions in Berea.
The total attendance ranks third since the team started keeping track in 2005, but it’s the highest average – 3,364 – by far. The previous best was 2,652 in 2012.
More than 3,000 people attended 12 of the 13 practices, and 40 states were represented. That doesn’t include the 20,000-plus who watched the Family Day scrimmage in Akron.
“It’s been tremendous,” Pettine said. “I came here and the fans had a certain reputation. You kind of sense it from the outside — the passion, the loyalty. They just proved it over the course of training camp.
“You can just sense the enthusiasm. It’s something I think is going to be huge for our guys. We want the Dawg Pound to bring back the days of old when home-field advantage will truly be a home-field advantage. You look at what Seattle has been able to do with the 12th man. If we go out there and are playing good football and give our fans something to cheer about, they’ll be among the loudest in the league.”
Cornerback Justin Gilbert, the No. 8 pick in the draft, will make his preseason debut Monday night in Washington. He’ll see time with the first-team defense, according to coordinator Jim O’Neil, and could get the start depending on the health of Buster Skrine’s thumb.
Skrine left practice and underwent tests. Pettine didn’t have an update immediately after practice.
Gilbert missed the preseason opener last week with a groin injury.
“I want to see him out there in game action,” O’Neil said. “You can’t simulate that in practice and he’s going to get a chance to go up against two pretty damn good receivers in Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson.”
Gilbert is behind Skrine on the depth chart, and O’Neil said it wouldn’t be a disappointment if the team’s top draft pick opened the year on the bench.
“Not at all, I think that Justin is on his way to being a great corner,” he said. “If he’s not one of our best 11 by Week 1, I’m going to be happy with the 11 that we trot out there, but I’m very optimistic about Justin. He’s doing a great job in the classroom, he’s doing a great job out here on the practice field, he’s competing. We’re in a fortunate situation where we’ve got three really good ones.”
Gruden watched practice to prepare for the telecast Monday. He spent much of it talking to Haslam on the sideline. Hall of Famer Jim Brown also joined the conversation for a bit.
Gruden was a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee, Haslam’s alma mater.
Gruden also sat down with Manziel for an interview that will be the Sunday Conversation on “SportsCenter.” It will debut Sunday during the 8 a.m. edition.
- Pettine ruled out defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (wrist) for Monday night but said the injury isn’t serious. “No, he’s just waiting — it’s more of a procedural thing — he’s waiting to get another opinion,” Pettine said.
- Receivers Josh Gordon (abdominal) and Nate Burleson (hamstring) haven’t practiced all week. Pettine said there’s still a chance Gordon could play, but it’s not likely for Burleson.
- Cornerback Pierre Desir (knee), a fourth-round pick, didn’t practice and wasn’t on the field.
- Cornerbacks Isaiah Trufant (knee) and Aaron Berry (groin) and offensive lineman Paul McQuistan (ankle) rode the stationary bikes.
- Linebackers Eric Martin (concussion), Darius Eubanks (shoulder) and Keith Pough (ankle) and offensive linemen Michael Bowie (shoulder), Randall Harris (knee) and Nick McDonald (wrist) weren’t on the field.
- Tight ends Jordan Cameron (shoulder) and MarQueis Gray (abdomen) were full-go after wearing non-contact jerseys earlier in the week. They’re expected to play Monday.
- Former Browns guard Jason Pinkston watched practice, then got a big hug from Cameron. Pinkston and the team recently reached a settlement after blood clots returned.
- Quarterback Brian Hoyer had a highlight during a run drill. He ran a keeper, got a seal block from Cameron and turned the corner for a big gain. He flipped the ball at safety Jim Leonhard and flashed a big grin.
- No. 3 quarterback Rex Grossman threw a beautiful deep pass to receiver Jonathan Krause. Grossman is wearing No. 3.