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2 Brown Defensive Starters Miss Drill Due to Injuries

January 10, 1987|United Press International

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns practiced Friday without two starters, cornerback Hanford Dixon and starting left inside linebacker Eddie Johnson.

Dixon has a sore left ankle, and Johnson suffered a sprained left shoulder and ankle in last Saturday's 23-20 overtime victory over the New York Jets. Both veterans are expected to be available for Sunday's AFC championship game against Denver, but their playing time might be curtailed.

The National Weather Service predicted 2 to 3 inches of snow overnight with flurries and additional accumulation today. Sunday's forecast called for mostly cloudy conditions with snow flurries likely. The temperatures are expected to peak at 25 to 30 degrees.

While Cleveland also considered the possibility of activating running back Earnest Byner, the Broncos pondered adding either tight end Clarence Kay or nose guard Rubin Carter to replace injured guard Paul Howard.

The Broncos worked out for two hours in Mile High Stadium Friday before leaving for Cleveland,. Kay and Carter accompanied the team.

Kay was released from a drug rehabilitation clinic and returned to practice Wednesday. Carter was placed on injured reserve in October.

"It's something to be considered overnight," Bronco Coach Dan Reeves said. "No decision has been made yet.

"And Dennis Smith (who missed last Sunday's 22-17 victory over New England with a sore knee) will start at safety. He worked out well today and is feeling OK."

At the Brown workout, Dixon went through a few running drills.

"But he should be well-rested for the game," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "He's taken it pretty easy this week because that's the only way the ankle will heal sufficiently."

Johnson has been inactive all week. "We'll see what tomorrow brings," he said. "I plan on starting."

Byner's return, Schottenheimer said, depends on how the third-year back feels today.

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