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Greg Robinson placed in concussion protocol, status uncertain vs. Steelers - News & Notes

Left tackle Greg Robinson was placed in the NFL's concussion protocol Wednesday after reporting symptoms to the team's medical staff.

Robinson, the Browns' starter at the position for all but one game this season, did not practice and carries an uncertain status into Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.

Versatile backup Justin McCray started in place of Robinson for the Browns' Week 8 matchup with the Patriots and would appear to be in line to do so Sunday in the event Robinson is unavailable.

"I hope he's OK. It's one of those things," left guard Joel Bitonio said. "We have guys that have played in the NFL before. McCray has played this year. (Kendall) Lamm has been around. Hopefully Greg can get back. He's a big, strong guy and he went up against them a couple of weeks ago.

"We'll be ready. We have guys that know this offense that are going to fight."

-- In other injury news, DE Olivier Vernon returned to practice for the first time in nearly a month. Vernon, who has missed the past three games with a knee injury, was considered a limited participant.

DB Eric Murray, who has missed four games with a knee injury that required surgery, remained sidelined.

-- Without Vernon and now without Myles Garrett for the rest of the season, Chad Thomas has been summoned to play starting snaps. The second-year player out of Miami has responded in a big way, collecting three sacks and notching the team's best Pro Football Focus grade in last week's game against the Dolphins.

"I think Chad played with a bunch of energy, affected the quarterback – which I think is good for a defensive end to affect the quarterback – and was solid in the run game," Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. "I think Chad needs to keep his head down, keep going and not be satisfied with anything other than the best that he can give us. I think that is what he wants. I am excited about Chad."

-- The Browns will maintain a relatively normal schedule Thursday, but Kitchens said he bumped everything up an hour in order for players to spend time with their friends and family during the holiday.

"Everybody thinks of the holiday season differently, but I think this is truly a time to give thanks, that is what it is for, right?" Kitchens said. "It's to give thanks for what you have and I think we are all fortunate to be in this business - to play and coach football for a living. So do not ever lose sight of that and then, to be around friends and family. People that help you throughout the year that care about you throughout the year, no matter the wins or the losses. That is what it is kind of for. So I want them to be able to do that."

-- The key to another big season from Joe Schobert? Kitchens said it starts with tackling better

"I think Joe went into the season wanting to make sure he brought his feet in tackling and was good with his aiming points in tackling," Kitchens said, "and I think his tacking has gotten a lot better."

Schobert, who was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, leads the Browns with 98 tackles -- more than double the next-best total on the team -- but it's his interceptions that have gotten recognition in recent weeks. Schobert has four interceptions in the last two games, making him the first linebacker since 2005 to have back-to-back games with multiple picks.

"I think he is great with his eyes, he is very intelligent, can react and focus and concentrate on what he has to do on an every play basis, which puts him in position to make those plays," Kitchens said. "When he has been in position to make those plays – sometimes guys can be in position to make plays and not make them – he has made them."