Last updated: February 16. 2013 5:53PM - 90 Views

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Running back Hardesty enjoying football again

BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns are getting surprising production at running back in the preseason.

This unexpected help is coming from Montario Hardesty and not No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson.

Coach Pat Shurmur said Sunday that Hardesty is making the most of increased playing time since Richardson had knee surgery Aug. 9.

Except for Hardesty's costly fumble on the first play at Green Bay on Thursday, the third-year running back is showing the style the Browns expected when they made him a second-round choice in 2010. Hardesty missed all of 2010 after surgery. He didn't play much last season and knows Cleveland has a big investment in Richardson. Yet he's eager to prove he can play, too.

Kubiak looks to shore up team's run defense

HOUSTON — Houston coach Gary Kubiak says Saturday's win over San Francisco had the feel of a regular-season game and offered a helpful gauge of where the Texans are three weeks before the games count.

Kubiak liked most of what he saw in the Texans' 20-9 victory — the continuing improvement of receiver Lestar Jean, developing depth on the right side of the offensive line and sharpness from quarterback Matt Schaub and star receiver Andre Johnson.

But the second-team offense sputtered and the 49ers broke off a handful of first down runs, new areas of concern for Kubiak.

Linebacker Brian Cushing bruised his ribs in the game, but Kubiak said no one else was injured. The Texans play at New Orleans on Saturday.

Cook, Rudolph recovering from concussions

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook and tight end Kyle Rudolph are recovering from concussions.

Both players were banged up in Friday's preseason game against Buffalo and held out of Sunday's practice as a precaution. Coach Leslie Frazier said they're still in the evaluation phase of their injuries, but that they've passed all of their tests so far.

Running back Adrian Peterson will continue to have his participation ramped up this week, with his rehabilitation from reconstructive surgery on his left knee nearly behind him. Frazier said the team would decide by Tuesday or Wednesday whether he'll play in this week's preseason game against San Diego.

2 punters vying for job

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Most of the Detroit Lions special teamers came to training camp with decent job security.

But that's not so for the pair a punters. Ryan Donahue earned the job last season as a rookie, but a quadriceps injury midway through the season opened the door for veteran Ben Graham.

The duo has split most of the duty so far in camp and during the Lions' two preseason games and both know only one man will get the job.

"You're expected to play at the highest level all the time and the competition makes it better and it makes you better as a punter," said Donahue, who ended Nick Harris' eight-year run as Detroit's punter out of camp last summer.

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