Cleveland Awaits Return of Montario Hardesty

Using the term “return” loosely, as most fans have not seen Cleveland’s new No. 31 in action to this point, but after watching the Browns top the Green Bay Packers this past Saturday night, many are eager to see what else may be in store for the Orange and Brown.  Will Jake Delhomme get more than one series?  Will Josh Cribbs give us a taste of the “Cyclone?”  And will Montario Hardesty finally be able to suit up and show us what he has?

The answer to the third question was provided earlier today: Not yet.

Reports from Berea state that Hardesty, one of the team’s second-round selections in the most recent NFL Draft, is still a week away from taking the practice field.  He will most certainly miss this Saturday’s home game against the St. Louis Rams, and would likely be held out of the Great Lakes Classic next weekend. 

One can assume that the team would like to see him in action prior to the September 5th deadline for the 53-man roster, but the Browns continue to be very cautious with their rookie running back – even moreso given his history with knee issues at the collegiate level (he three knee operations in four years with Tennessee). 

Hardesty was injured on the first day of training camp after he twisted his knee in a drill. Last week, head coach Eric Mangini stated that Hardesty did not have any surgical procedures done, and would not need any in the near future.  In the meantime, Jerome Harrison and James Davis will continue to get the reps at tailback, with Peyton Hillis mixed in for a change-of-pace.  Chris Jennings will need to vastly improve his play over this past weekend to remain in any sort of consideration come opening day.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)