BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Chad Thomas was immobilized on a backboard, carted off the field during a drill at Monday’s training-camp practice in Berea and taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
Thomas was hurt in an 11-on-11 drill, and while he was down on the field, several of his teammates took a knee in prayer and showed their support while others called for the music that was played to be turned off as trainers tended to the fallen lineman.
“He’s at the hospital just getting further testing, but he’s moving all of his extremities and everything,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said following practice.
“Just a precautionary (measure) to make sure everything’s okay. Anytime something happens like a stinger or anything dealing with any issues like that, you want to be more cautious than anything, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Players from both sides of the football expressed their well wishes to Thomas while he was being evaluated, and then, once again when the cart made its way off the field.
“It’s never a moment in any point in time or any sport or anything…that’s not a sight anybody wants to see,” wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. “Chad’s in our prayers.”
Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio has seen his fair share of injuries during training camp and the regular season, but a severe moment like Monday is something that players cannot fully prepare for mentally.
“It is one of the worst things,” Bitonio said. “Injuries in football are what you fear the most, and to see a guy get carted off, hopefully, it is all precautionary stuff and he is doing okay.”
After being visibly shaken by Thomas’ injury, players were relieved to hear positive updates about his health.
“At the beginning, he really wasn’t moving, and then, he began to move his legs a little bit and move his arms and acknowledge Joe (Sheehan) and the trainers as they were talking to him,” Landry said. “We knew that was a good sign.”
Bitonio added, “We kind of saw him moving around out there, so we were hoping it wasn’t too serious, but anytime they bring the stretcher out and put someone down, it is great to hear that he is moving and they are just doing extra steps now to make sure he is okay.”
As difficult as it was to regroup after Thomas’ injury, the Browns went through nearly an hour’s worth of team drills following the stoppage in practice.
“In our game, that’s reality,” Kitchens said. “Sometimes, that happens during the course of a game, and mentally, we’ve got to keep moving forward. You don’t ever want your teammates…at the end of the day, this is still practice.
“You don’t want to see your teammate laying there, but again, the protocol for anything like that is sometimes, it looks worse than it is. It’s a serious nature, but Joe and his staff did everything to protocol to make sure there was no damage done after the fact.”