Browns Tryout Former Packers, Chiefs Wide Receiver Ahead of Camp

Darrius Shepherd

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Darrius Shepherd of the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Arlington, Texas.

The Cleveland Browns took a look at a couple of quarterbacks on Thursday, and they didn’t stop there.

Along with the now-signed Josh Rosen and the vetted and passed on A.J. McCarron, the Browns held a workout for two wide receivers — one of whom was Darrius Shepherd, formerly of the Green Bay Packers.

Shepherd signed on with the Pack as an undrafted free agent in 2019 after playing his collegiate football with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance at North Dakota State University. Shepherd spent two years in green and gold, suiting up for 14 games during that span. He caught only six passes for 47 yards, per Pro Football Reference, making a stronger impact on special teams. Shepherd returned 20 kickoffs for the Packers in total, gaining 374 yards in those efforts. He also fielded three punts during his two seasons in Green Bay.

Shepherd signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in June of 2021 but fell one cut shy of making the 53-man roster. He was a member of the practice squads for the Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers last season before playing with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL this year.

The Browns also worked out wide receiver Derrick Dillon on Thursday, who caught passes alongside Shepherd from Rosen and McCarron.

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Browns Lose Receiver David Bell For Multiple Weeks With Foot Injury

David Bell

GettyCleveland Browns rookie wide receiver David Bell, formerly of the Purdue Boilermakers, catches a pass during a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on November 9, 2019 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

While the Browns signed Rosen Thursday, there was no immediate movement on Shepherd. However, it appears pass catchers may be in greater demand in Cleveland just one day later, as third-round pick David Bell has suffered a foot injury that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks.

Mary Kay Cabot of reported the news on Friday, noting that the Browns are optimistic Bell’s foot issue will not prove overly serious.

“If all goes as hoped, Bell will be back on the practice field in a couple of weeks,” Cabot wrote.

In the meantime, third-year wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and second-year wideout Anthony Schwartz will join Amari Cooper, acquired via trade from the Dallas Cowboys in March to be quarterback Deshaun Watson’s top target in the passing game, for more snaps with the first-string offense.

With Bell looking already like the favorite to win the No. 2 job in Cleveland as a rookie, the Browns may well consider adding another pass catcher to the mix, opening a window for Shepherd if the team intends to keep costs down, despite still having access to nearly $48.5 million in salary cap space as of Friday.

Watson’s Availability For 2022 Regular Season Remains Up In Air

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

GettyQuarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns listens to questions during a press conference following the team’s mandatory minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on June 14, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

If Shepherd does land with the Browns, there is no guarantee he will be catching passes from Watson anytime soon.

Cleveland signed Rosen to guard against a long suspension for Watson, who continues to await a ruling from an independent arbiter who will decide if he should face a punishment after 24 women filed civil cases against him alleging sexual misconduct.

Watson could face up to a year on the sidelines, though Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported this week that the Browns are bracing for an eight-game suspension. Rosen joined quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs behind Watson on the depth chart Thursday.

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