Browns notes: EJ Gaines back in time to face hometown Chiefs

WR Antonio Callaway limited with ankle injury Thursday

Daryl Ruiter
November 01, 2018 - 6:21 pm
EJ Gaines Cleveland Browns

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The return of cornerback E.J. Gaines couldn’t have been timed better.

With Pat Mahomes and the fast, high-flying Chiefs offense rolling into town this weekend, the Browns need all the help they can get on the defensive side of the football.

“This is going to be a fun one to come back for, though, I’m excited,” Gaines said Thursday. “Playing against my hometown and I’m excited. Lot of family coming up to watch this game, so it’ll be fun.”

Gaines, who returned to practice on Wednesday, was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol on Oct. 18 after reporting to practice with concussion-like symptoms.

“It’s just one of those things you get put in protocol and it’s kinda hard to get out of protocol,” Gaines said. “So once you get out, you kinda feel happy and relieved, and that’s kinda where I’m at right now.”

He was examined on the 18th and held out since, but it remains unclear when Gaines suffered the concussion.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you,” Gaines said. “They think it might’ve happened in the game before and it just kinda lingered with me and then it happened in practice again when I took a hit.”

While Gaines was out, Damarious Randall shared time at corner along with T.J. Carrie and Brien Boddy-Calhoun took over at free safety for Randall.

Mahomes leads the NFL with 2,526 passing yards and 26 touchdowns, which rank third in NFL history through 8 games behind Tom Brady (30 in 2007) and Peyton Manning (29 in 2013).

“He has a lot of talent around him, a lot of weapons he can get the ball to,” Gaines said of Mahomes. “But him himself, he’s a weapon himself, he can use his legs, he can use his arm to throw it from all over the field. He’s a great player so we definitely got to contain him.”

Kansas City leads the NFL in scoring, averaging 36.2 points per game and they’ve been held under 30 in a game just once.

“We’re a good defense and we’re excited to play against good offenses any week,” Gaines said. “This is one of the best offenses in the NFL this week, so it’ll be a good, good matchup.”

Callaway limited – On the same day that receiver Rashard Higgins returned to practice, receiver Antonio Callaway was limited with an ankle injury according to the team’s injury report.

Like Higgins, Callaway participated during individual and positional drills during the portion of practice open to reporters.

Callaway has 21 catches for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns in 8 games this season, 6 starts.

Master motivator – One of the primary focuses for an interim head coach is to keep the team engaged and motivated and with 8 games remaining on the schedule and just 2 of them against below-.500 teams for the 2-5-1 last place Browns, it will be needed.

Gregg Williams has made a career of motivating his defensive players and Gaines has no doubt that same energy will rub off on the offense.

“I think he can fire anyone up, honestly,” Gaines said. “I think Gregg can get anyone to run through a brick wall. That's kind of the coach he is. I think he'll get the offense going. They're talented over there, man. They've just got to get things going and get things rolling and be consistent.”

To Gaines’ point, Williams’ defense has forced 22 turnovers this season and their +11 turnover ratio is tops in the league, but the offense has turned them into just 34 points.

Injury report – Did not practice:  S Damarious Randall (groin), LB Joe Schobert (hamstring), C JC Tretter (ankle)

Limited: WR Rashard Higgins (knee), WR Antonio Callaway (ankle), TE David Njoku (knee), CB Tavierre Thomas (abdomen), WR Da’Mari Scott (shoulder)

Full: CB E.J. Gaines (concussion), RT Chris Hubbard (toe), RB Duke Johnson (back)