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Browns open camp under Chudzinski with optimism

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm •  Published: July 25, 2013
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Moments after the Browns took the field, Haslam addressed the media, giving his most detailed comments yet about the federal investigation of fraud at his Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain.

During a seven-minute news conference, Haslam said he expects to own the Browns for a long time and he's "very optimistic" about a favorable outcome of the probe, which began in April when the IRS and FBI raided Pilot Flying J's headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn.

"We're committed to owning the Browns for a long period of time," Haslam said. "I understand in Cleveland there's a great deal of uncertainty because of past history, but the fans should not worry. Our family is going to own this asset for a long, long time."

Haslam was asked if he would remain in charge of the franchise if he was indicted.

"Our style is to be very transparent and very open," he said. "When the government investigation happened on April 15, one of the very first calls we made was to the NFL. We're in constant contact with them, they have been very supportive in working with us and I'd say we're very optimistic on the outcome."

The Browns' chances this season will hinge on Weeden's development and the health of Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards despite playing most of his rookie season with two broken ribs.

Richardson's side has healed as has a shin injury that kept him out of spring practices. He reported to camp weighing 225, his playing weight at Alabama. He hopes to keep it there.

"I can't have big weekends eating and stuff," he said. "I got all my kids' birthdays out of the way until we get to October. I have to stay out of Chuck E. Cheese."

Before practice, Chudzinski asked Brown to address the team and the legend began his remarks by bringing Richardson to the front of the room. Brown, who had called Richardson "ordinary" before Cleveland drafted him third overall in 2012, praised the young back for his toughness.

Richardson was touched by the tribute, but promised not to let it affect him.

"There's still a lot that I've got to prove," he said. "I still haven't done what I think I can do. For him to say that, it's big hearing it from him. But at the same time, I'm not going to let my head get big. I've still got a lot of improvement."

NOTES: WR Josh Gordon came up limping after he dropped a long pass from Weeden late in practice. Chudzinski said Gordon was suffering from a cramp in his lower left leg, but that he will be further examined by the medical staff. ... DT Phil Taylor did not practice because of a strained calf muscle. Chudzinski said it's not a concern. ... Weeden started slowly, but made several excellent throws, including long completions to WRs Greg Little and Travis Benjamin and TE Jordan Cameron. ... Little is now wearing No. 18 after swapping No. 15 with Davone Bess. Josh Gordon, who wore No. 13 last year, is wearing No. 12. He has a large 12 tattooed on his back.