|Browns’ Cameron, Haden miss practice with injuries|
|Wednesday, December 18, 2013 9:25 PM|
By TOM WITHERS
BEREA — Jordan Cameron has been dominant, dependable and durable for the Browns all season.
Whether making a clutch catch or simply being on the field for virtually every offensive snap, the tight end has been one of the few things Cleveland has been able to count on in 2013.
Cameron is following the NFL’s procedures for head injuries after sustaining a concussion in Sunday’s loss to Chicago and could miss this week’s game against the New York Jets. Cameron, who leads the Browns with 75 receptions and is second in yards receiving and touchdowns, did not complain of any symptoms until Monday and was kept out of practice on Wednesday.
Cameron will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play and several Cleveland players who have had similar injuries this season have missed one game. If Cameron doesn’t play, the Browns (4-10), who have dropped five straight and eight out of nine, will be without one of their top playmakers.
In his third season, Cameron has emerged as one of the AFC’s best tight ends.
“I’m really pleased with how he’s jumped out and improved in such a short amount of time,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “He’s proven to be a consistent playmaker and really done a nice job catching the ball, learning the game, getting open, understanding the nuances of that position, and the versatility you need at that position. He’s grown as a blocker as well.”
Chudzinski doesn’t know when Cameron, who finished with three catches for 23 yards against the Bears, got hurt.
And while Cameron’s statistics have dipped slightly in the season’s second half, he’s played in 930 of 975 offensive snaps.
This is the second time in two years Cameron has missed time with a concussion. He sat out the Browns’ final two games in 2012 when he finished with just 20 catches for 226 yards and a TD.
As much as quarterback Jason Campbell would like to have Cameron as a target against the Jets, he’s more concerned about his teammate’s well-being. Campbell recently missed Cleveland’s game against Jacksonville with a concussion.
“As bad as we want him to be out there with us playing on the field, I care more for his health and his safety,” Campbell said. “I just want him to make sure he’s doing all the right things that he needs to do so that something doesn’t creep up on him later on in life.”
If Cameron can’t go, backup Gary Barnidge will likely start and the versatile MarQueis Gray, a former college quarterback at Minnesota who had two carries for 20 yards last week, will get more time. Fortunately, the Browns depth at tight end.
Barnidge, who had a 40-yard TD catch two weeks ago against New England, smiled when asked what he brings to Cleveland’s offense.
“Everything,” he replied. “I feel like I can run block. I can catch. I can pass block and all of our tight ends can do that in the room. It’s not just one guy. I think everybody can do it.”
Cameron’s potential loss could make things tougher on wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was held to just 67 yards — 43 coming on a late touchdown — by the Bears after racking up 774 in his previous four games. Gordon is already the primary focus for opposing defenses, and the Jets would give him further attention in the absence of Cameron.
Gordon is accustomed to the interest.
“It doesn’t make it any harder,” he added. “We’ve got plenty of guys to do the job to distract them and get everybody open.”
NOTES: Browns CB Joe Haden missed practice with a hip pointer and may also miss Sunday’s game. … Browns LT Joe Thomas was limited in practice with a back injury. He didn’t participate in drills during the portion open to the media. Thomas has started all 110 career games with the Browns and played in 6,795 consecutive snaps, the league’s longest such streak. … RB Willis McGahee was cleared to practice and play after missing one game with a concussion.