1. Terrelle Pryor happy to be back
Terrelle Pryor was upset when he learned he'd been released from the Browns just a few days before the start of the regular season. It was a natural reaction, he said, because of his competitive nature and drive to succeed as a wide receiver.
When he departed the Browns facility in September, Pryor was told he wasn't headed on a one-way street. There'd be a chance, if he didn't land elsewhere, to return with the Browns at some point in the future.
That time came Wednesday, when Pryor, then visiting with the Chicago Bears, learned he had an offer to return to the place where he spent the entire preseason. It was a no-brainer for Pryor, who quickly left and was back in time for Wednesday's practice.
"I had a great time here and I'm glad the coaches brought me back and they saw that," Pryor said after Thursday's practice. "I'm happy to be here with Coach Pett again and (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo)."
Pryor's happiness and comfort stem from his knowledge of DeFilippo's offense, which dates back to when the two worked together in Oakland. Pryor arrived in "great shape" and has fresh legs, DeFilippo said.
Pryor worked out extensively in Pittsburgh, where he resides during the offseason, and spent some quality time with his son, Terrelle II. At the end of his workouts, Pryor said he ran an extra 40 routes.
Pettine said it wouldn't be likely for Pryor to have a role on the offense as soon as Sunday against the Bengals, but there's probably enough time to get Pryor in a position to contribute in some way before the season ends.
Pryor isn't concerned about the "when."
"We have great coaches up there. When it's time for me to go, I'm sure that they'll put me in," Pryor said. "I had two great practices, felt really good. Obviously, healthy so that makes a big difference. I'm having a great time with my teammates out there so I'm happy to be back."
2. Injury update
The Browns had no changes in practice participation Thursday, as Joel Bitonio (ankle), Nate Orchard (groin) and Randy Starks (knee) continued to be limited while the four players dealing with concussions -- Joe Haden, Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel and Justin Gilbert -- remained out.
Three key Bengals -- TE Tyler Eifert (neck), CB Leon Hall (back) and CB Adam Jones (foot) -- have not practiced this week.
3. Browns special teams using Monday's game as rallying point
Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor didn't mince words about his feelings toward Monday night's performance against the Ravens when he met with reporters Thursdayu.
As he's reflected on what went wrong during the punt return and field goal block touchdowns Monday, Tabor has implored his players to remember the plays but not let them carry over to Sunday against the Bengals.
"It was a terrible event that took place," Tabor said. "We sustained a huge wound, and when you get a wound you go back home, you bandage it up and you want that thing to heal. When it heals, it's going to form a scar. Every time you look at that scar, you're going to say 'You know what? That scar is going to make me better because I remember what happened. I need to coach better, I need to play better.'
"We have to clean up some things, and every time we look at this scar, it hurts. No doubt it hurts, and you remember it but you can either sulk about it and it's going to get worse or you say, 'You know what? I remember it. We'll move on and we'll attack this next game.' That's our mentality in our unit for this next one."
4. High praise for Desmond Bryant
Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil said he isn't discouraged by the Browns' sack totals -- 16 in 11 games with seven coming against the Titans in Week 2 -- and said he liked how the Browns affected Baltimore quarterback Matt Schaub on Monday.
O'Neil doled out his highest praise to defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, whom he credited with applying the pressure that led to Schaub's second interception late in the fourth quarter.
"I think Des Bryant has done an unbelievable job rushing the quarterback the last few games. I think people are really struggling to block him," O'Neil said. "Again, would I love to have more sacks? Yeah. Do the guys want to have more sacks? Yeah, but if we're affecting the quarterback, that's just as good, for me, as sacking them."
5. Just in case…
The arrival of Pryor means wide receiver Brian Hartline will no longer be the Browns' emergency third quarterback in games Pryor is active.
Pettine has joked that's a significant relief for both he and Hartline. He detailed Thursday exactly what would happen if Hartline were to ever be thrust into the game at quarterback.
"There is a package of plays. We're not going to run our offense, but there are some things that we can do with him in there, plays that he would be comfortable with," Pettine said. "You get him some in a walkthrough every now and again. Early in the year, there were some repetitions, but you don't do too much of it. When you get into the season and your reps are so limited, you build that package, you know what it is you have it on the call sheet. Like you said, you hope you never have to go there."