The Cleveland Browns will be without starting center JC Tretter for a “couple of weeks” after Tretter underwent a procedure on one of his knees.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski revealed the news on Friday before the team’s first practice of training camp but did not go into details. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the procedure was to “clean out loose bodies” that had been causing Tretter discomfort.
#Browns C JC Tretter recently had a minor knee procedure, a scope aimed at cleaning out loose bodies and easing discomfort, source said. The clean-out should sideline him for just a couple weeks and shouldn’t impact his availability for the season.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 14, 2020
While you never want to hear that one of your key starters has to undergo a procedure, even one that is considered “minor”, the good news is that Tretter is expected back in time for Cleveland’s season-opening game against the Baltimore Ravens on September 13.
Tretter’s absence also opens the door for rookie center Nick Harris to get some valuable time working with the starting offensive line unit.
The Browns selected Harris in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft out of Washington, where he played at guard before switching to center for his final two seasons and earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors.
There was some talk that Harris would get a look at guard during training camp given that the Browns are currently weak at right guard, but with Tretter out Harris has a chance to show what he can do at what may ultimately be his future position at center.
Stefanski urged caution about getting getting too high or too low about Harris - or any of the team’s rookies - following Friday’s practice, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“He is doing a nice job. I was not able to watch all of his reps up close and personal. I will be able to do that [on film]. With all of these young guys, speaking about Nick but really for everybody, this is a process and there are going to be mistakes, and we just have to identify and correct them. That is part of the training camp rhythm. That is kind of where we are right now. Do not expect it to be perfect. We just have to make sure we take every rep and we coach off of them.”
It is disappointing that Tretter will be out for a while, but the experience that Harris picks up in Tretter’s absence may help soften the blow.