While the injury to Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. got the most attention following Wednesday’s joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts, another under the radar injury might have significant impact as well.
Multiple reports surfaced during the practice that Browns backup running back Dontrell Hilliard was injured during the practice, being forced to end the session early to ice the back of his leg.
It’s unknown the seriousness of the injury or of it will keep Hilliard out for an extended period of time.
While Hilliard assumes a backup spot on the depth chart, his role going forward with the Browns is massively important following the trade of Duke Johnson Jr. earlier this month. Hilliard is slated to be the Browns No. 2 option on the depth chart to open up the season with Kareem Hunt serving an eight-game suspension and will likely fill in on many of the third down situations where Johnson was so lethal catching the ball.
Dontrell Hilliard Eager to Capitalize on Opportunity With Browns
Hilliard was picked up by the Browns as an undrafted free agent last offseason out of Tulane and spent the first month of the season on the practice squad.
After being elevated to the active roster, he appeared in 11 game but did not receive a carry. However, he did catch nine balls for 105 yards and could be in the mix to return kicks this season.
Now facing the prospect of having a major role on a Browns squad with big-time expectations, Hillard isn’t backing down.
“I feel real comfortable,” Hilliard told reporters. “Anytime my number is called, I can be the guy, so I have no doubt in my mind I can fill a more important role. It’s a competitive game, and that move they made opened an opportunity for me, and I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Kareem Hunt Gets Some Good Reps in During Joint Practice
Hunt will serve a half-season ban for violating the league’s personal conduct policy to start his career with the Browns, but got in some good reps during the team portion of the joint session that drew rave reviews from his teammates and coaches.
“It is great to have Kareem out there, the special talent that he is and to get out there with us because he is going to have a long wait until he plays,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “To get some reps with us to where that itch gets back for him.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens was also impressed with Hunt.
“I thought he looked good for not taking any (team) reps up to this point. He broke out on a few, embraced his speed and all those things you see on tape actually play in the game,” Kitchens said. “He has been good in the pass protection. He is right where we want him to be.”
The Browns and Colts have one more joint practice before facing off on Saturday in the second preseason matchup for both squads.
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