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Mike Pettine wants Browns to be physical, not combative, in practices with Bills

Mike Pettine has made it more than clear he won't tolerate any after-the-whistle shenanigans between his players and the Bills when they participate in joint practices Monday and Tuesday.

But after tackling that very subject following Saturday's practice, Pettine paused for a second before emphasizing one of the main reasons why he was so intrigued by the idea.

"Understand," Pettine said, "we're not going up there to have a pillow fight, either.

"Hopefully it'll be clean … both teams are wanting to establish the physical part of the game. We're looking to get some good solid work out of it."

The Browns will go through one more practice Sunday before they board a train to Pittsford, N.Y., a suburb just outside of Rochester. They'll go through two practices before returning to Berea on Wednesday. The two teams square off Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium in a primetime, nationally televised broadcast.

Officially, this will be Pettine's first venture into joint practices, a growing trend throughout the NFL. As a member of the Ravens coaching staff, Pettine would sometimes go on day trips to practice with another team but never the kind of endeavor he's about to experience in the coming days coaching against his good friend and mentor, Rex Ryan.

Pettine also has a close relationship with Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman and a number of members of the Bills defensive coaching staff. Pettine was Buffalo's defensive coordinator for one season before he was hired by the Browns.

"Anytime you can collaborate that way, you're going to get a lot of good work done," Pettine said. "You get the exact work that you want and it's also in a controlled environment. We're not going to be live. You're minimizing the risk for injury but you're getting work done against another NFL opponent. It's a win-win. It's not a surprise that more teams aren't doing it."

In recent days, Cleveland's and Buffalo's coordinators have been in constant communication as they formalize the practice schedule. Pettine said there will be a "move the ball" period at the end of each practice but there won't be a true scrimmage.

After seeing 19 players miss Thursday's preseason opener, the Browns are slowly getting their players healthy and back on the field. A number of them saw increased workloads at Saturday's practice, and Pettine expects to have a even deeper group by the time Monday's session with the Bills begins.

All are aware of how Pettine wants to see them perform in this unique setting.

"I'm very much looking forward to it," Pettine said. "I have a bunch of guys on staff that have been a part of it and they highly recommended them so it was a no-brainer for us talking to the Bills at the combine and getting this arranged.

"We definitely talked to our guys about, 'hey, we're going to be competitive, just not be combative.'"

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