WESTFIELD — The Cleveland Browns are coming to Grand Park.
The NFL’s current version of The Beatles will spend two days practicing against the Indianapolis Colts ahead of Saturday’s preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The practices will begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and last for more than two hours in full pads.
It’s the second straight year an opponent has visited the Colts at their new training camp home. The Baltimore Ravens came in for a pair of fight-filled sessions last summer.
Indianapolis also hosted the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears for joint practices in recent years at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center with no on-field incidents.
Colts head coach Frank Reich has been in consistent communication with his Cleveland counterpart, first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens, in anticipation of this week’s workouts.
“Freddie and I coached together in Arizona so we know each other well,” Reich said. “We’ve talked multiple times. We’ve already talked to our team about the tempo that we are looking for — let’s be professionals and keep the fighting out of it.”
Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton admits the altercations seen throughout the league in joint practices have dampened his enthusiasm for the idea.
But he also sees the value in working against a team that has similar aspirations for AFC championship contention this fall.
“I’m not a fan of joint practices, but it is what it is,” Hilton said. “It should be fun, a lot of excitement, a lot of special guys out there.”
Second-year wide receiver Deon Cain tore his ACL during the preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks in 2018. That kept him out of last year’s joint practices against the Ravens and ultimately cost him his rookie year.
For him, the workouts against the Browns offer another chance to measure his comeback’s progress.
Cain admitted he still needed to gain some confidence in his knee heading into last week’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills. He came out of the game with two catches for 15 yards and answers for all of his lingering questions.
The fallout has been evident in practice, where Cain has begun to again display the explosive play-making ability that made him a training camp phenom a year ago.
Going against Cleveland’s defense is the next natural step in the process.
“It’s just a new face, man,” Cain said. “We get to see some new bodies and see some new faces. We’ve been going up against our defense for like two or three weeks now. So everybody’s started to get that jazz. We’re a little bit pumped and excited about getting ready for (preseason) Game 2.”
Andrew Luck is unlikely to participate in the practices against the Browns as he continues to work to regain strength in his strained left calf.
The 29-year-old quarterback has gradually been ramping up his daily work with trainers, and he continues to be an active participant in walk-throughs.
On Monday, he also got another visit from throwing guru Tom House — the man who helped develop the mechanical changes Luck used during his NFL Comeback Player of the Year campaign in 2018.
“That’s always great,” Reich said of House’s camp visits. “Tom is the best. I love when Tom comes in. We have great conversation. I mean this guy is the best in the world at what he does. There is no one like Tom House, so glad to have him here.”
PLAY OF THE DAY
Rookie cornerback Rock Ya-Sin was at it again Monday, returning to practice after a personal day off.
Veteran wide receiver Devin Funchess was the victim this time. Jacoby Brissett slightly missed his target on a curl route to the free-agent addition, but it appeared the play still would go down as a completion.
Then Ya-Sin — who was providing his usual tight coverage — pick-pocketed Funchess as the wide receiver made his turn upfield. Ya-Sin pulled the ball out with one hand in a fluid motion and headed the opposite direction for a touchdown.
His defensive teammates quickly joined him for a wild celebration.
“I mean what a great play,” Reich said. “Funch actually runs a pretty good route. The throw was just a little bit off, and Rock just makes a heck of a play. That’s just been what he is doing. No surprise, but certainly a great play by Rock.”
Tight end Eric Ebron (foot/ankle) returned to practice and immediately caught a touchdown pass in the red zone from Brissett.
Rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Reich said he was close to a return this week but “felt a little something” as he ramped up his workouts Sunday and is being re-evaluated.
Left guard Quenton Nelson also missed practice for the first time after spending time with trainers late in Sunday’s session.
“Nothing serious,” Reich said, “just dinged his ankle a little bit yesterday so just being precautionary there.”