Browns defensive end Robaire Smith is attending what the players hope will be the final Camp Colt of the offseason in Austin, Tex. What's unusual is that Smith will be an unrestricted free agent when the lockout ends.
Smith said he is attending after being asked personally by linebacker Scott Fujita. Said Smith to the Cleveland Plain dealer, "(He) reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to come down and be a part of it, which I thought was great. I told him most definitely I'd be there for him, especially coming from a guy like Scott. It meant a lot to me personally. There was no way I was going to turn this down, an opportunity to come here and work out with these guys."
Smith is hoping to be re-signed by the Browns and said, "It's something I'm shooting for and that I'd love to do. (General manager) Tom Heckert said before the lockout that they'd be interested, but they were waiting to see my medical report. It came out right before the lockout, so there wasn't too much they could say then."
Smith suffered a bruised spine last season, but was cleared for full football activities in March. He said he has been working out and has played in a soccer league during the lockout. He said the injury wasn't as serious as some made it out to be.
"It was amazing the way people made it out to be more than what it was," Smith said. "It kind of had me a little upset at first. My doctor never thought it was a big deal right from the start, and I went to three or four people, and they told me the same thing.
"(Now), I feel better than I've ever felt, even coming off my Achilles injury (in 2009). My body is just fully, fully recovered. I'm rested, and I feel like a new person. I didn't play those first couple of years in the league, so I have a lot left."
NOTES AND QUOTES
•FRESH START: Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi told the Cleveland Plain dealer he made good use of the lockout in trying to improve.
Massaquoi said he traveled a lot and worked with some of the league's better receivers, while also watching a lot of tape.
"I'm looking at this as a fresh start and I wanted to learn from the best," Massaquoi said. "I wanted to be able to start from scratch and be able to use what they know to help me.
"If you watch Chad, you watch his feet. You watch Larry and you see how he adjusts to certain balls. You watch Calvin, how smooth and controlled he is at all times. Hines and Wes Welker, they understand the game so well. It's not always about just running out there and running a route. They really understand what they're doing out there."
Massaquoi concluded, "There's a reason that they're in the league as long as they are. You really can't fix what you don't know. You see how those guys go about their business, how they work, how they're running routes and how they're adjusting to certain things and it's completely different."
•PERFECT FIT: Fullback Lawrence Vickers believes he's a perfect fit for the team's new offense, but he's not sure what the coaches think.
"I am a West Coast fullback," Vickers said. That's what they don't understand."
He believes the team doesn't know because they selected fullback Owen Marecic in the draft.
Looking back on the time when Eric Mangini was the head coach, Vickers said, "I was on a team where they don't even use a fullback. Mangini's era wasn't really a fullback era. I played just on (the belief that) 'this person has to be on the field.' Everything I got wasn't given. I took it. Our offense was based on New England's. They don't even have a fullback."
Noting what he had to do to get on the field, he said, "Anybody that watches football knows. The last two years, I haven't caught the ball. I wasn't a part of the offense. So I made a way for me to be on the field. That's what a football player does. Anybody that can make his presence on the field without the ball is a helluva guy."
He figures he won't be re-signed when the lockout ends, but looks forward to potentially playing against the Browns.
He said, "I think people are getting away from the stud fullbacks because there aren't too many left in the league. But if you have one, you keep him. I just hope I don't have to come to Cleveland in a different uniform because it's gonna be bad."
•LITTLE WORTH RISK: Many mock drafts had the Browns selecting wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth overall choice in the draft. Instead, the Browns traded out of the pick with Atlanta. In the second round, they picked wide receiver Greg Little, who missed the 2010 season at North Carolina along with several teammates after accepting gifts from agents.
Tar Heels receivers coach Charlie Williams believes the Browns will be fine with Little.
"By not playing last year, it's going to take some time for him to develop on that level," Williams acknowledged. "He's going to have to learn on the run in terms of the speed of the game and game contact. He'll have his bumps and bruises and struggles his first year, but he should be able to play right away. He'll correct whatever he needs to, and once he learns, he's going to be good."
Williams added, "If Greg had played his senior year, he would've had big numbers. I don't know where he would've stacked up with those two guys (Jones and A.J. Green), but I truly believe if Greg had played his senior year, he would've had a chance to be a first-rounder."
•McCOY COMFORTABLE: Quarterback Colt McCoy says he already feels comfortable with the team's new offense and is taking charge at the player-run offseason workouts.
Said McCoy, "We have a new coach and a new system and I'm really the only one that has that much clue about what's going on. I've spent a lot of time in the playbook, so it was important for us to get together and study. It was a lot mental. We spent a lot of time understanding the basic foundation of what goes on in the West Coast. It's a lot different from what we ran last year."
McCoy said he finally feels 100 percent from the shoulder injury he suffered his senior season at Texas and which gave him some problems last season.
"It feels as good as it's ever felt," he said. "Throwing-wise, I definitely feel back up to speed. I'm not getting fatigued as much as what I was. I really feel good and confident, so that's always a plus."
•LITERALLY A BIG HERO: Second-round pick Jabaal Sheard, a defensive end from Pitt, gained fame as a youngster when he helped save an elderly lady from a burning building.
"I grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood," Sheard said. "It was a house that was smoking and the fire alarm was going off. Nobody reacted; everybody just watched it. I was probably about 11 at the time so me and a couple of my friends were riding bikes around the neighborhood.
"We ran over and tried to break in and then we ran to call the police and came back and started breaking in. Just as we were breaking in, the fire truck arrived. They came and got us out of the way and got in there.
"An elderly woman had slipped and was unconscious. It just so happened that we did it just in time because it could have been worse than what it was."