Browns notes: Ravens' Lamar Jackson '120%' ready after strange illness; Troy Hill returns to practice
BEREA — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said Wednesday he is “120%” sure he will face the Browns Sunday night after sitting out against the Chicago Bears last weekend with a baffling illness.
“I’m good now. I’m perfect. I’m feeling great,” Jackson told reporters in Baltimore Wednesday. "No relapses, man, we're good."
The AFC North-leading Ravens (7-3) host the Browns (6-5) on “Sunday Night Football” in M&T Bank Stadium. The 2019 league MVP was a full participant in practice after being sent home for two days last week. He returned to practice Friday, then was stricken again Saturday morning, forcing Tyler Huntley to start a 16-13 road victory over the Bears.
Jackson still doesn’t know what happened between Friday and Saturday.
“I have no clue. I just got fatigued, caught some little chills. I was out of it,” he said. “I was trying to rest and recover ... I was just sweating in my sleep.”
Jackson has experienced COVID-19 twice, first during the 2020 season and going back on the reserve/COVID-19 list from July 28-Aug. 5. He had been unvaccinated and twice in September declined to reveal his status.
Asked if he worries that two bouts with COVID-19 have left him susceptible to other illnesses, Jackson said, “I don’t know, probably. That’s a good question, though. I don’t have an answer. You’ll have to ask one of the trainers about that.”
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Jackson is 36-10 as a starter. He tied Patrick Mahomes and Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the most victories in a quarterback’s first 40 games, going 32-8. In 2020, Jackson became the first quarterback in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons, with 1,005 yards last season and 1,206 in 2019.
Because of Jackson’s elite running ability, safety John Johnson III said the Browns are emphasizing swarming to the ball.
“All 11 guys got to be in the frame when the film stops, and that’s what we’re going to work on at practice,” Johnson said.
“Obviously he presents a different challenge,” Browns linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. said. “Being able to run the ball on every down, being able to make every throw ...”
Sunday will be Jackson’s first game against the Browns since his miraculous recovery from cramps during the Ravens’ 47-42 victory on “Monday Night Football” on Dec. 14 in Cleveland.
The Ravens trailed 35-34 and Jackson was in the locker room getting intravenous fluids when he saw backup quarterback Trace McSorley suffer a leg injury. In a moment dripping with drama, Jackson ran out of the tunnel and threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown on the next play. Then, after the Browns tied the score at 42, Jackson led a six-play, 38-yard drive that set up Justin Tucker’s 55-yard field goal with two seconds left. Jarvis Landry took a safety as time expired for the final score.
Asked what he remembered most from that night, Jackson said, “The cramps. My whole body cramped. Scoring back and forth, both teams. It was one to remember. They [were] scoring, we [were] scoring — a lot of ping pong.”
Cleveland Browns' Troy Hill returns to practice following scary neck injury
Browns nickel back Troy Hill was carted off on a stretcher and taken to a Boston-area hospital on Nov. 14 after suffering a neck injury trying to make a tackle against the New England Patriots.
Hill, a Youngstown native, returned to practice Wednesday, but was limited.
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“That is scary,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Hill being hurt in New England. “To see him come out of that and pushing towards practice is a great thing.”
Cleveland Browns' A.J. Green out of concussion protocol, Takk McKinley a full practice participant
Cornerback A.J. Green was cleared from concussion protocol after being hurt against the Patriots and practiced fully.
Other full participants were defensive end Takk McKinley, limited last week with a groin injury and inactive the past two games, and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who left Sunday's home victory over the Detroit Lions after reaggravating his sprained right ankle.
Sitting out for the Browns were quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder, foot, groin), receivers Landry (knee), Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) and Anthony Schwartz (concussion), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (knee) and linebacker Tony Fields II (illness).
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Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (neck, wrist, knee) was limited, along with center JC Tretter (knee) and linebacker Sione Takitaki (shoulder).
Green bean casserole is overrated, Cleveland Browns' Baker Mayfield says
Stefanski is moving up practice on Thursday and canceling post-practice meetings so players can spend more time with their families. But Mayfield may skip the green bean casserole, which he called the most overrated Thanksgiving side dish, if it's on the table.
The most underrated stumped him.
“I don’t know if I have one. I love all sides, but green bean casserole is definitely overrated,” he said.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.