Browns Officially Returning To The Greenbrier For Training Camp And Will Host The Vikings For Joint Practices

Browns GM Andrew Berry is at his best evading questions. That skill set was put to use at Tuesday's interview session at the NFL Combine. (TheLandOnDemand)

Browns GM Andrew Berry is at his best evading questions. That skill set was put to use at Tuesday's interview session at the NFL Combine. (TheLandOnDemand)

Browns officially returning to The Greenbrier for training camp and will host the Vikings for joint practices

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.


Takeaways from Day 1 at NFL Combine … 

Andrew Berry is at his best (and worst) in front of media at the NFL Combine.

He is best at evading questions that give the smallest indication of his plans on the draft, free agency, player contract restructurings or other roster matters.

Case in point:

“What is your overall evaluation in general of the wide receiver draft class this year?” I asked him.

With a smile, he answered, “I'm going to give you the same response I give every year on the draft class. There are good players across all rounds, across all positions.”

That said, here are a few “take it to the bank” statements I will confidently make after talking with sources here:

* Nick Chubb will play for the Browns in 2024.

* So will Amari Cooper.

* The Browns will routinely pick up the fifth-year option of cornerback Greg Newsome by the May 2 deadline.

* The Browns will not look to move any of their top three offensive tackles or any of their top seven linemen for salary reasons.

* The Browns don’t have a “favorite” to bring back in the role of veteran backup quarterback. It won’t necessarily be Joe Flacco or Jacoby Brissett and it won’t be Josh Dobbs.

Summer plans

Berry did confirm two news nuggets:

* The Browns will return to The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WVA, for the start of the 2024 training camp. Berry said he expected the stay to be about the same as last year -- nine days and eight nights -- after which the team will stage probably two weeks of open practices at their CrossCountry Mortgage campus in Berea.

* The Browns will host two days of joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings prior to a home preseason game. Dates to be determined.

Some health updates

Chubb: “He's done a great job,” Berry said. “You guys know Nick, he works his tail off. He does everything in his power to make sure that he can recover as quickly as possible. It still is very early and we're what, six months away from training camp? So to say anything more definitively than I did in the middle of January, it would probably be inaccurate.”

Deshaun Watson: “Deshaun will begin throwing next month. He's worked his tail off in terms of his rehab and recovery. He's in a really good place. We're excited when the spring hits and we can get him back on the field, but he's making really good progress and we're really excited to see that continue,” Berry said.

Tackles Jack Conklin, Jedrick Wills and Dawand Jones: “Probably too early to say [if all can participate at the opening of offseason conditioning] on April 15th,” Berry said. “We do anticipate them being ready for the season. They're all recovering. They all have different injuries, so different time horizons for their recovery. All three of them have been working hard. All three of them are progressing as appropriate and we do anticipate having them available to us throughout the season.”

Trader wants more time

Berry submitted a proposal to have the NFL trade deadline extended two weeks into November to give teams additional time to swing trades beyond the halfway point of the season.

Berry pointed out that the NFL has the earliest trade deadline of the four major sports leagues.

“Baseball and basketball have the trade deadline at 65 percent of the games played. Hockey’s at 78 percent. Currently we’re at 45 percent,” Berry said. “Our proposal would move it to about 55 percent of the games played.”

Berry also pointed out the existing deadline after the season’s Week 9 slate of games (around the end of October) never was extended after the season was extended to 17 games.

“We think as a league it makes sense to give teams as much flexibility as possible to have the best product during the stretch run to the playoffs,” he said.

Seems like a no-brainer. What GM would not like more time to swing a trade to patch a roster spot with the playoffs in reach?

“You’d be surprised,” Berry said.

The proposal is in the hands of the competition committee, which now decides if it is worthy of presenting to owners for vote at league meetings at the end of March.

Callahan on Callahan

New Titans coach Brian Callahan said he didn’t think his dad, former Browns line coach Bill Callahan, wanted to leave the Browns.

“We had a conversation the year previous, when I was interviewing for a couple of jobs, and he had said we wouldn’t work together, that he was very happy where he was at and didn’t want to leave and felt I should do that on my own,” Callahan told me. “But [one year later] it just timed up great. It’s kind of where he’s at in his career. The opportunity to have him come to Tennesee, the timing was perfect. I didn’t really know if he wanted to come or not until I got the job because I was working off the assumption that last year he wasn’t interested.

“I’m appreciative of Cleveland willing to work through that with us. I’m sure they didn’t want to let him go, either. He was under contract and they didn’t have to. I’m appreciative of their understanding and knowing the uniqueness of the situation. But nothing comes easy in the NFL when you’re under contract.”

Around the league

* Based on comments from their general managers, don’t expect stud defensive tackles Chris Jones of Kansas City or Justin Madubuike of Baltimore to be available in free agency.

KC’s Brett Veach told me, “He’s at the top of the list [of who we want back]. Love Chris. Tried really hard to get something done [last year] and we didn’t. When we got together after the Detroit game, we had a great talk. Both parties want to be here, so we’ll get to work. That’s certainly a guy we want back and love and want to finish his career in Kansas City. “

Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta said of Madubuike: “We’re trying to get a deal done. We’ve had discussions with Justin. He’s a guy that obviously has put himself in a fortuitous position this year by the way that he played. Had a great season for us. He’s a valued player on the team, and we’re hopeful that we can get a long-term deal done.” If not, DeCosta admitted he “probably will, yes” use the franchise tag to keep Madubuike another season.

That leaves Christian Wilkins of the Dolphins as the next-best D-tackle still unsigned.

Coach Mike McDaniel said of a keeping Wilkins, “I hope so. Don't you? We'll see. I'm excited to see, excited for Christian's opportunity that he's earned. But yeah, we love good players and we'd love to have him back.”