BEREA − Denzel Ward made his training camp debut on Monday afternoon after the Browns' Pro Bowl cornerback spent the first 12 practices on the physically unable to participate list.
Ward was placed on the list on July 26, the day veterans reported for camp. The reason for the move was due to a foot injury he suffered on the final day of minicamp on June 16.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said prior to practice Ward wouldn't be full-go on Monday. He said they would "work him along appropriately.”
“It’s great," Stefanski said. "He’s been working very hard inside and out here, so ready to get back on the field and obviously we’re excited about getting him back out here.”
Stefanski wasn't sure if Ward would be a full participant in the joint practices with the Eagles on Thursday and Friday.
A fifth-year pro out of Nordonia High School and Ohio State, Ward signed a five-year, $100.5 million extension in April, a year after earning his second Pro Bowl appearance. He played in a career-high 15 games a year ago, with 43 tackles, one tackle for loss and a career-best three interceptions, including a 99-yard touchdown return in a November road win over the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
Ward's return comes a day after his fellow starting cornerback, Greg Newsome II, missed his first full practice as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury. The Browns have yet to have a practice with both projected starting cornerbacks on the field together.
The absences have opened the door for rookie Martin Emerson Jr. and third-year pro A.J. Green to get significant reps both in camp and in last Friday's preseason opener in Jacksonville. Green's 57 defensive snaps against the Jaguars were the most for any Browns defender, and Emerson played on 30 snaps, one of which included an interception he returned 75 yards for a touchdown.
In a corresponding move to activating Ward, the Browns waived receiver Derrick Dillon. Dillon had been signed earlier in camp.
Myles Garrett once again excused from camp
All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett was absent for the second consecutive day due to personal reasons. Stefanski said the absence was an excused one.
Stefanski did not know how long Garrett would be absent.
Dawson Deaton, Mike Harley Jr, Isaiah Thomas leave practice
Three different Browns left practice at various points on Monday. The most serious of those was offensive lineman Dawson Deaton, who was carted off the field early with a knee injury.
The NFL Network's Mike Garofolo reported late Monday evening that it was a torn ACL in the knee.
Deaton's injury is another one at the center position, which lost starter Nick Harris to a knee injury during the preseason opener in Jacksonville. Ethan Pocic replaced Harris with the first-string offense, while Hjalte Froholdt was the first up with the second-team, although Michael Dunn also got some run there.
Receiver Mike Harley Jr. walked into the facility a little over an hour into practice accompanied by a trainer with what was termed as an ankle injury and didn't return to the field. He is just the latest in a long list of receivers who have battled injuries, most of whom − except for rookie Michael Woods II (hamstring) − have returned to practice.
Isaiah Thomas, fresh off an impressive two-sack preseason debut against the Jaguars, also departed practice with a hand injury
Jadeveon Clowney with an impressive day
If there was a star of the day for practice, it was probably defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Throughout team drills, Clowney lined up on the left side of the defensive line and consistently was winning the battle with whomever was at right tackle, most often Chris Hubbard.
It was arguably Clowney's best day of camp, or at least the one where he flashed the most. Earlier in the day, defensive run game coordinator Ben Bloom was asked about year two of having the former No. 1 overall pick with the Browns' defense.
"Jadeveon's really fun to be around," Bloom said. "I mean, he's got a lot of personality, a lot of energy. You can tell he enjoys playing football, he enjoys having success and winning on the football field. So, him just doing that every day and being himself has just been awesome. It's bringing energy to the group and allowing us to have some fun while we're out here. So I appreciate his ability to work and have fun at the same time."
Kevin Stefanski's trip down memory lane
Stefanski grew up in Philadelphia a big Eagles fan. He's going to see his favorite childhood team again this week when they come to Berea for two joint practices, followed by Sunday's preseason game.
Stefanski may still have some of his old Eagles gear, although, according to him, "Nothing that fits." That includes his first Eagles jersey, that of the Minister of Defense, the late Reggie White.
"I do not still have it," Stefanski said. "It was a white T-shirt with marker written No. 92 in white. That is true.”
Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Denzel Ward returns to Cleveland Browns training camp practice