With no fanfare, just a barked command from the assistant coaches, "helmets on -- buckle 'em up," the Cleveland Browns started their first practice in more than three years Friday.
The no-pads workout was the first of five the expansion Browns will have at a minicamp which runs through Sunday.
"It's fun to be out there," Browns coach Chris Palmer said. "We've been in the paperwork of writing notebooks, looking at film of draft choices. Now to come out and work out with the players -- it gets your motor running."
With the defense in brown jerseys, offense in white and quarterbacks in orange, the team worked out in brisk, 90-minute sessions at the Browns' indoor practice facility.
Almost all the 73 players on the Cleveland roster suited up, including defensive lineman John Jurkovic and placekicker Phil Dawson, who signed with Cleveland Thursday.
After a stretching session, players broke down into groups -- linebackers doing agility drills, linemen working on blocking techniques, kick returners fielding punts.
Palmer, dressed in khaki pants with a Browns windbreaker and cap, strolled between groups of players, shouting encouragement and occasionally pulling a man aside to make a point.
The team also ran through a few plays as Palmer began trying to install Cleveland's basic offense and defense. There were some ragged moments with offsides penalties and bobbled snaps, but also a sense of excitement as players immediately tried to make good impressions.
| Chris Palmer sees plenty of intensity during during Cleveland's minicamp. (AP)|
In fact, Palmer said he wanted the players to ease up a little.
"You can definitely tell by the number of bodies on the ground that the intensity was up," said Ty Detmer, who led the first offensive unit. "Guys were flying around, excited to be out there and trying to make a good showing."
Perhaps the most intense player was Chris Spielman, returning to football after sitting out last season to be with his wife after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The middle linebacker cut through the line to the ball carrier on two of the offense's first four plays and seemed to set the tone for the defense.
"It feels good to be back in my element," Spielman said.
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