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Flag victim unable to practice with team

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BEREA, Ohio — Orlando Brown, recovering from an injury to his right eye inflicted by a referee's flag, was placed on the physically unable to perform list by the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday.

Brown, a 6-foot-7, 350-pound offensive tackle, was injured Dec. 19 against Jacksonville when referee Jeff Triplette accidentally hit him with a penalty flag weighted with BBs.

Brown shoved Triplette to the ground as he left the field. The lineman said his reaction came out of fear because his father was blinded by glaucoma.

The league initially suspended Brown indefinitely but lifted the penalty in late February. Triplette has not been reprimanded.

"This is an emotional time for Zeus," coach Chris Palmer said, referring to the player's nickname. "This is the first training camp he will not take part in, and it is difficult for him. We had a nice talk, and he understands what we are doing."

A team official said Brown "preferred not to talk with the media about his situation at this time."

The eight-year offensive tackle appeared upset as he left the opening day of camp for rookies. He wore his uniform and shorts and was on the sidelines as defensive end Courtney Brown, the No. 1 pick in the NFL, and other rookies went through light drills.

Browns president Carmen Policy said the decision on Brown was made in an effort to help the rehabilitation.

"He's still a member of the team and is counted on the active roster," Policy said. "He will participate in team meetings, but not in actual physical practice.

"We will be able to monitor him daily, and his spirits will be lifted by being with his teammates."

Unlike injured reserve, a player on PUP is not out for the season. He can return at any time once the team determines he is physically fit.

"This gives us five or six weeks to make a final determination, but our ultimate goal is to have his talent on the field for us this year or even next year," Policy said.

Palmer said Brown has an appointment with another eye doctor this week.

"If he comes in from the doctor and says he is cleared to go, he practices right away," Palmer said.

Policy said that while the team anticipates that Brown eventually will be able to play, the club must also consider what keeping him on the roster means to the salary cap.

Brown signed a six-year, $27 million free-agent contract before last season.