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Training Camp

Browns scrimmage: For Brian Hartline, it doesn't get any closer to home

Brian Hartline isn't big on nostalgia. The Browns wide receiver said that more than once Thursday after yet another practice that include numerous connections between him and quarterback Josh McCown.

Still, there will be something special tonight about his return to Ohio Stadium. It will be the first of many reminders for why Hartline was so intrigued by the prospect of returning to his home state.

"For me, it is just closer to home," said Hartline, who has resided in Columbus for years. "It will be cool to grab some dinner and see everybody and then get back in 'The Shoe' for some fun. I am looking forward to seeing a great crowd and compete and have some fun. I am looking forward to it."

If Hartline, a Canton native, continues to produce the way he has in recent practices, Columbus-based Browns fans should expect the veteran wide receiver to replicate some of the big things he did as a Buckeye during Friday's Orange and Brown scrimmage.

Throughout the first week of training camp, Hartline has routinely showed off his crisp route-running skills and sure hands, particularly in red zone drills. McCown's trust in Hartline has been apparent, often putting the ball in spots where Hartline has to reach to snatch the ball out of the air and away from a nearby defensive back.

These were the type of plays Hartline made regularly during his six seasons with the Dolphins, particularly in his back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons of 2012 and 2013.

"We are getting some good work in and getting a feel for each other," Hartline said. "I am doing what I am told. He is doing what he is told. When we have some errors we will talk it out, so hopefully we don't do it again. This is the kind of the steps we have been following."

Change and transition are unavoidable, even when you're returning to your home state. Yes, Hartline is just a couple hours away from his permanent residence as he goes through training camp practices in Berea and yes, he'll be in the same stadium where, in his final home game with the Buckeyes, he caught two long touchdowns in Ohio State's rout of Michigan, but Hartline spent six years in Miami, an eternity by NFL standards.

The familiarity of his surroundings, though, has made this particular change easier than if he'd gone somewhere he'd never been.

"It is all a change. It has changed, but it just feels so natural," Hartline said. "To me, I feel like I am in my backyard out here with this kind of grass and the same feel as always, the temperature. For me it is nothing out of the norm, but like there is change. There are different logistics. Showing the stadium and doing different things. I think overall any time you get a chance to get on the field, whether it be Ohio Stadium or any other preseason game we want to work on something and get better as a team. That is what we will focus on.

"Off the field is definitely a little easier. I know the passion of the Browns fans, so the combination helps a little bit."

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