Andy Dalton saw his old offensive coordinator meeting a media mob as he walked to the field Wednesday and shouted with a smile, "We've got practice, Hue," and Hue Jackson laughed a homecoming laugh.
"I was hoping that there would be something," said Jackson of a call from the 513 area code in the two weeks since Cleveland let him go as head coach. "As I said, I would want to be some place that I respect everybody in the building and people who know me, know me personally. This is a tremendous opportunity for me, and I'm just thankful that they said, 'you come on home. This is an opportunity for you to come and help and let's go.'"
Jackson's title of special assistant to head coach Marvin Lewis is a day old, but the job specs are still evolving. It sounds more and more like a chief of staff role as Lewis transitions into his dual role as head coach and defensive coordinator.
"Whatever this organization needs me to do," Jackson said when asked what he's doing. "Whatever Marvin thinks I need to do to help him, to help him be the best version of himself. To help whether it's offensively, defensively or special teams, I'll do whatever they need me to do."
What's more defined is Jackson's feelings about taking the Browns' head coaching job two days after the 2015 season and amid intense, emotional talks with Lewis and Bengals president Mike Brown about becoming Lewis' successor. But despite winning just three games in two-and-a-half seasons in Cleveland, Jackson didn't second-guess leaving.
"I think the experience in Cleveland was good. You know, regardless of what the record was, I mean, it was an opportunity and an experience and you can't get those back," Jackson said. "I think I'm a better coach for it, you know, having gone through it. But at the same time, you know, nobody wants to have that kind of record, you know. But I'm looking to being here, helping this organization win and getting this organization back to where it needs to be.
GREEN, LBS STILL HURTING:
It looks like wide receiver A.J. Green (toe) is going to be out again. He said before practice it feels better, but he wasn't on rehab or practice fields at the beginning of Wednesday's work. WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hip) returned to the practice field for the first time since he got hurt in Kansas City Oct. 21 and participated in the first Marvin Lewis defensive drill that featured tackling by all positions. But middle linebacker Preston Brown (knee) revealed he got hurt in the third quarter last week against the Buccaneers. SAM backer Nick Vigil (knee) looks like he's not playing, either, since he wasn't on the rehab field.
Slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard (neck) returned to the field Wednesday for the first time since suffering a dislocation the on top of his sternum on Oct. 14. Also back was right guard Alex Redmond (hamstring) after missing the last game. But cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion) didn't work.