BEREA, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
The Cleveland Browns' latest practice marked the return of three potential key contributors. Following extended absences, cornerback Denzel Ward, defensive end Takkarist McKinley and rookie wide receiver Anthony Schwartz each returned to the practice field at the Browns' team facility in Berea on Wednesday.
Ward's return to practice comes after a two-week absence due to a non-specific injury that the team has labeled "soreness." Earlier this month, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Browns and the 2018 Pro Bowl cornerback were discussing a contract extension, although such a deal has yet to come to fruition.
Cleveland Browns practice photos: Aug. 25, 2021
Like Ward, Schwartz has missed the majority of Cleveland's training camp to this point due to an injury, as a hamstring injury has kept the 2021 third-round pick sidelined. Speaking to reporters prior to Wednesday's practice, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that it remains possible that the speedster from Auburn could contribute to Cleveland's offense as early as its Sept. 12 season opener vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I think for sure he has a chance to help us," Stefanski said. "We have to see how he does over the next few days. We will get him out there today in some drills. It is just a matter of how he responds to that, but yeah, I am hopeful in that regard.”
Meanwhile, Wednesday's practice marked McKinley's first since July 31. Signed as a free agent this past offseason, the 2017 first-round pick has been absent from the Browns' facility for the better part of the past month due to personal reasons.
Stefanski said it's still too early to tell whether McKinley will play in Cleveland's preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
“I would say similarly with a lot of guys who are coming back, just want to see how they look the next few days before making any determinations," Stefanski said.