Around The AFC North: Browns Cornerback Joe Haden Will Likely Play In Opener; Trent Richardson Practicing

TAMPA FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Cornerback Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns is congratulated after breaking up a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 12 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Suddenly the Browns' team status doesn't look so doom and gloom. A few weeks ago, the team and their fans received disturbing news that rookie running back Trent Richardson was having to undergo another knee scope procedure, and star cornerback Joe Haden was facing a four-game suspension because of a failed drug test. If you remember, Haden was found to have the substance Adderall in his system.

At the time, these two players seemed unlikely to play in the Week Two matchup against the Bengals. That may not be the case anymore. Richardson has been back practicing with the club and could get limited work in the opener against the Eagles. Though he has only gone through light work, he has looked agile and could be available.

Haden, on the other hand, has appealed his league-mandated suspension and there hasn't been an announcement on that decision yet. According to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the defensive back was seen at practice on Wednesday. Usually if a player is seen at practice on a Wednesday during the week leading up to a game, he will be playing.

That's not to say that Haden could play this week and the suspension could kick in after, whether it's been lessened or not. We can't also say that Haden will definitively play this Sunday, but that it is seemingly likely at this point. Sometimes appeals are time-consuming for the league office and can take some time, so we'll have to see how this plays out.

Regardless, Richardson and Haden are two of the Browns' most important players on each side of the ball. Having them both available would help their roster significantly. If you remember, Haden played a great game last year against the Bengals in the season opener, with the only reception he gave up to A.J. Green being a long touchdown pass off a quick snap/trick play by Bruce Gradkowski.

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