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News & Notes: Nick Chubb returns to practice for final stage of concussion protocol

The Browns' backfield returned to full strength Saturday as RB Nick Chubb practiced for the first time since Monday, when he was placed into concussion protocol.

"He followed all the protocols and is feeling good," coach Kevin Stefanski said. "We're excited to have him back out there."

Chubb, who was the NFL's second leading rusher last season with 1,494 yards, was able to attend team meetings but could not practice in on-field drills after leaving practice early Monday with a trainer. Participating in a practice is the final stage for Chubb before he is fully cleared from concussion protocol.

With Chubb back and healthy, the Browns will continue to use a heavy dose of Chubb and Kareem Hunt in training camp. The two backs split first-team reps before Chubb's injury and are one of the top running back duos in the league.

-Andy Janovich believes fullbacks should be a part of every offensive scheme.

Janovich, of course, is a bit biased — he's a five-year NFL veteran at the position — but he knows how much a fullback can mean to a wide-zone scheme, such as the one coach Kevin Stefanski has implemented in Cleveland.

"I think fullbacks are pretty awesome," Janovich said with a chuckle. "I think every team should have three of them. My role as a fullback is to just be a physical, downhill runner and get on linebackers. With my speed, I'll just blow the roof off the defense."

Stefanski made great use of fullback C.J. Ham last season as offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. Ham, who made 17 receptions for 147 receiving yards in 2019, was used in 55 percent of offensive snaps.

Janovich likely will have a similar workload this season. The Browns traded for him in March and have given him plenty of first-team reps so far in training camp.

"I think (the position) brings a level of toughness," Stefanski said. "I think there's versatility to that position and what you can do with them in the run and pass game. I think it can dictate certain looks you see from the defense. I think it's a nice utility piece for us."

-S Andrew Sendejo has assumed the veteran leadership role of the defensive backs. As an 11-year veteran, Sendejo is ready to lead by example after signing a one-year contract with the Browns in March.

"Anytime you are an older vet on the team, it is kind of your responsibility to show the young guys how to approach the game, how to prepare, try to pass down any knowledge that you can and try to be a leader by example," he said. "I have been lucky to be around guys when I was younger that showed me the way of how to do things right. Really, just emulating those guys and trying to be the best teammate and best leader that I can for us on the back end. Hopefully, it is contagious to the other older guys."

Sendejo mentioned Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway and Terence Newman as leaders he remembers from his earlier playing days. He said they all carried a more silent approach to their game, and that's how he plans to lead in Cleveland's secondary.

"They were a lot of older guys that were not huge rah-rah speech guys, but they really lead by example," he said. "I am fortunate those guys were around me when I was young, and they kind of showed me what it was like to be an older vet in the room."

-Myles Garrett returned to the field Thursday after nursing a tweak in his hamstring for the first five days of team practices. On Saturday, he was active in a handful of team drills.

"It's certainly boring to just stand around," Garrett said with a smile. "It's certainly nice to be back out there. I hope I get a chance to make some big plays so I can show what I can do with the new coaches."

-Stefanski said the coaches have been attempting to give the quarterbacks tough defensive looks in training camp. With no preseason games, he wants to give Baker Mayfield and the other QBs as much realism to the play calls as possible.

"We make life hard on them in practice," Stefanski said. "We're giving them tough looks and we're not giving them outs in certain areas. It's a tough position to play, and we want to make sure we simulate that as much as we can in practice."

Stefanski has been impressed with how the offense has improved since the first day of team practices, and he emphasized how crisp Mayfield and the receivers have looked so far in red zone drills.

"He's done a real nice job," Stefanski said. "You have to remind yourself that they're running plays full speed for the first time versus an offense or versus a defense. There will definitely be moments where it's not perfect, and I think Baker and the other guys — we're learning. I think there's an understanding that we're trying to build this thing and get the basics down."

-P Jamie Gillan also returned to practice Saturday. He had been out since Wednesday with an illness.

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