Kevin Stefanski was met with some difficult news before the sixth day of training camp team practices in Berea.
CB Kevin Johnson was admitted to University Hospitals after practice Wednesday for abdominal pain sustained after he absorbed a collision to the ground with another player in practice. Tests revealed that Johnson sustained a lacerated liver, but he is resting safely and is expected to remain in the hospital for the next 24 hours to undergo further observation.
"Obviously, we're thinking about Kevin," Stefanski said in a video call with reporters Thursday. "It's never fun to see that or hear that, so we're all thinking about Kevin. It was unfortunate and unlucky, but we're hoping he'll be back when he's ready. We want him to get well very soon."
Check out photos from the sixth day of Browns Camp
Johnson, a six-year veteran, had emerged as an early standout defensive back in the first portion of camp. He was taking first-team reps as a slot cornerback.
Stefanski doesn't know how long Johnson will be sidelined. In the interim, Stefanski plans to give looks to several Browns cornerbacks in the slot position.
"That's the nice part of having an 80-man roster," he said. "We have a bunch of guys we're going to try in there. Even prior to this week, we've been working a lot of guys in there. I think you'll see a pretty good rotation."
-DE Myles Garrett will return to practice Thursday in a limited capacity. Stefanski said he will participate in individual drills only and will not participate in team drills.
-The Baker Mayfield-Austin Hooper connection has stood out in the first few days of team practices. Hooper has caught just about every ball Mayfield has thrown his way, and he appears to be one of Mayfield's go-to receivers if his first read is covered.
That's precisely the role Hooper was expected to have when he signed a four-year deal in March. He worked out with Mayfield twice in Austin, Texas, over the offseason, and the benefits of those workouts are already paying off.
"I feel good about the potential of those guys," Stefanski said. "I think there's a comfort level and we just have to make sure that continues to grow."
-The Browns have placed an emphasis on the fullback position for their new offensive schemes. The position is supposed to aid running backs in their vision and help eliminate an early blocker once they receive a handoff.
Running backs coach Stump Mitchell called the position "the eyes" for the running backs, and also believes a fullback will help Mayfield in pass protection.
Andy Janovich and Johnny Stanton — who was Janovich's quarterback in 2014 when they played together at Nebraska but switched to fullback in the NFL two seasons ago — are the two fullbacks on the roster. Mitchell believes Janovich, a five-year veteran, will help Stanton grow at the position.
"It's a great opportunity for Johnny to pick up some great habits from Andy," Mitchell said. "(Andy) makes excellent decisions. He's great for Johnny because now Johnny is getting to learn exactly how to do it."
-Mitchell offered good news on Nick Chubb, who was placed in concussion protocol Monday after leaving practice early with a trainer.
Chubb hasn't returned to practice yet, but he has been participating in team meetings inside the facility, Mitchell said.
-The Browns will not be practicing in pads Thursday due to NFL policy that prevents teams from practicing in pads for four straight days.