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Looking back: Cleveland Browns minicamp highlights

By MARY KAY CABOT • Jun 7, 2019 at 9:45 AM

BEREA — As the Browns wrapped up their three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday, Freddie Kitchens said it’s still too early to identify the team’s identity.

“I want to be the most physical team on the field," he said. "I want to play great defense. I want to move the ball. I want to be great on special teams. That kinds of sums it up.’’

He said the players will ultimately determine the team’s identity.

“I know what we’re going to push and press for and the identity is going to be knowing what to do, knowing when to do it and knowing how to do it, and in everything that we do, do it physically,’’ he said.

The Browns also hosted Navy Undersecretary Thomas B. Modly, multiple Navy officers and World War II veterans during Thursday’s minicamp practice. Afterwards, Kitchens, Browns players and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer — who flew helicopters as a U.S. Naval officer for five years (1989-94) and is a U.S. Naval academy graduate and former Navy football graduate assistant coach — spent time with the veterans.

It included Westlake native Emory Crowder, a WWII Navy Corpsman and Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient; John Simanella, who was with the US Army Air Corps and successfully flew 30 combat missions as a B-24 door gunner onboard “Sweet and Lowdown;” and Bob Allen, one of the last two surviving crew members from the USS Cleveland.

“I would like to start by saying to my core how appreciative I am of the guests that we had today," said Kitchens. "We had Under Secretary from the Navy (Thomas) Modly and he brought out three WWII veterans that participated in D-Day. I take pride in the fact that I know a lot of that type of stuff from our history. What those guys did and the sacrifices they did, it is unbelievable. I read a couple of books concerning D-Day, and what those guys walked into without knowing is remarkable. I just wanted to say that to start things out.”

Here’s what you need to know from the last day of minicamp.

1. Callaway aiming for 1,000 yards

Callaway is almost a forgotten man now that the Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are in the house, but he’s undeterred.

“I love being the underdog,’’ he said.

Not only that, he’s set lofty goals for himself this season

“A thousand yards,’’ he said.

And touchdowns?

“Ten or more,’’ he said.

Callaway, who made some big plays in minicamp but dropped a TD pass in red zone drills Thursday, plans to work out in L.A. this summer with Mayfield, Beckham and others.

Will there be enough balls to go around for all of Baker Mayfield's weapons?

2. OBJ and Duke sit out drills

OBJ and Johnson were held out of team drills on Thursday, but not because they were injured. Kitchens didn’t want to risk injury considering both had missed most of the voluntary workouts.

“Everything’s OK with them,’’ Kitchens said. “We don’t play any games in the spring. I’m not being funny; it goes back to our voluntary issue. Even when they’re here and it’s mandatory, we’re going make sure that we take care of our players until they start counting.’’

Kitchens said other injured players such as safety Morgan Burnett, receiver Derrick Willies and receiver Damion Ratley probably could’ve practiced if it had been training camp.

3. T.J. Carrie leaves practice

Cornerback T.J. Carrie went to the ground with a leg issue in a non-contact situation, and limped off the field. He soon walked inside the facility with a trainer, and didn’t return.

But a team spokesman later said Carrie’s injury is not believed to be serious and that he should be fine. That’s good news for the Browns, because Carrie has had an excellent camp, serving primarily as the nickel back. When he left the field, Phillip Gaines replaced him.

Both Carrie and Terrance Mitchell have broken up passes, swiped balls and made big plays in camp behind starters Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. The outlook is bright in the secondary this season.

4. Greedy Williams on OBJ

Williams, the Browns’ top pick in the draft at No. 46 overall, had an excellent camp and looked like a first-round corner at times, including Wednesday when he had two picks off Baker Mayfield, including a pick-six at the start of a two-minute drill.

“That’s definitely a confidence-booster," he said. “That’s my first one of the camp and I had two on that day and I came out here to get interceptions today. Just with that mindset, what your mind tells you, that’s what you’re going to go do. Just having fun with the game and my confidence and my comfort, I think I’m well-equipped and I’m ready just to rock and roll.’’

Williams is preparing to start opposite Denzel Ward by covering Odell Beckham Jr. in practice.

“He’s a different receiver," said Williams. “Playing one of the top receivers in the NFL, when you first get out there you don’t know what to expect, but after a while getting to go against him, you know kinda what type of guy he is. He’s one of them receivers you don’t want to really face man-to-man every play."

5. Ogunjobi attends Miller's summit

Ogunjobi attended Von Miller’s pass-rusher summit recently and talked about how much it helped him.

“We get to meet guys like Aaron Donald, DeMarcus Ware, Von, of course, Derek Wolfe, Frank Clark, guys who are really established in the league and you can pick their brains, learn a lot from them, kind of see what works for them, what doesn't work for them,’’ he said. “I think the biggest part that really helped was the film study, being able to break down your opponents and see how each guy studies their opponent. I think it will be really helpful coming into the season.’’

He also took no offense to the Browns trying to sign Gerald McCoy.

“Coach Kitchens said it best, we just want more guys, more things, rotations, competition, all that kind of stuff and I feel that would have been an asset, but he's not here now, he chose the Panthers," he said.

In other Browns news and notes:

— Former Browns left tackle Desmond Harrison, released on Wednesday, was claimed by the Arizona Cardinals.

— Kitchens said his right guard spot is still up for grabs as the Browns head into training camp.

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