BEREA, OHIO (AP) - As Ryan Miller lay motionless on the ground, shock and then fear spread through the Browns practice.
A few players near the spot where the backup offensive lineman went down dropped to a knee in prayer. The music system was turned off. All talking stopped and an eerie quiet filled Cleveland’s indoor field house.
Suddenly, a routine day at training camp was anything but.
“Anytime your brother goes down it’s scary,” linebacker Quentin Groves said, “because you never know. … We’re just big men that play a sport called football. But we still have hearts. We still have emotions. We still have feelings. He’s our brother.”
Miller sustained a concussion during a one-on-one blocking drill Saturday, an injury that shook his teammates, who were later relieved to learn that the 6-foot-7, 320-pounder had been released from the Cleveland Clinic. Until getting word that Miller had movement in his extremities and was responsive, several of the Browns were worried Miller may have suffered a devastating injury.
“It’s always tough to see your fellow linemen or one of your teammates go down like that,” Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said. “It’s hard because obviously there are things more important than football and your health is certainly one of them. Sometimes it’s hard to get back and focused on football when you see a guy laying there and not moving.”
Miller, who is in his second NFL season, was immobilized, strapped to a backboard and taken by ambulance to the hospital after he was hurt. He spent several hours undergoing tests before he was released.
“He’s doing well,” first-year coach Rob Chudzinski said following practice. “He’s responsive and it sounds like things are better at this point.”
The Browns were about 40 minutes into their third practice, which was moved indoors because of rain and closed to the public, when Miller got hurt. He crumpled to the field and appeared to be unconscious on his back while most of teammates, who were unaware that he had been hurt, continued to take part in drills.
Groves realized something was seriously wrong and began alerting anyone he could.
“The way he was laying down, you know it was that serious,” he said.
Moments after medical personnel rushed to aid the unmoving Miller, Chudzinski came over to check on him along with linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and others. After Miller was immobilized and strapped to a backboard, the entire Browns team and coaching staff huddled around him in prayer.
“We got together,” said Chudzinski, Cleveland’s first-year coach. “We said a prayer, said we would keep Ryan in our thoughts and I would give them updates as we got them. We needed to get back to work at that point and focus back on practice.”
It was difficult for everyone.
The Browns asked media members not to report Miller’s name until his family could be contacted, raising fears he was hurt more severely. And, as Miller was being treated, the team also requested for cameras be turned off to protect his privacy.