By MIKE McLAIN
BEREA - The long snapper finally got the message.
After going nearly a week of camp without having one of their draft choices on hand, the Browns announced Sunday the signing of long snapper Ryan Pontbriand to a five-year contract. Pontbriand, who returned to his Texas home Saturday, was scheduled to return to the area last night and will be on the field for today's practices.
The Browns are still without the services of their other six draft choices.
"It's good to get one of the rookies signed," coach Butch Davis said. "Once we get one, hopefully it will start a landslide and we'll get some more signed in the next couple of days."
Defensive tackle Gerard Warren did little on the field for a second straight day. Warren bruised his right knee early in Friday's practice. MRI tests were negative.
"It kind of scared me because it snapped," said Warren, who's in the best shape of any of his three training camps. "I thought it might ruin my season. I worked hard to come into camp so I can make things happen."
Courtney Brown appears to becoming more at ease with each passing day. Davis hasn't said when he expects Brown to take the next step in the process of returning to full form. Don't expect Brown to participate in the scrimmage Saturday against Buffalo.
With Faine out of camp, Davis wants to give someone other than Shaun O'Hara time at center. O'Hara, the starting right guard, had been playing at center in Faine's absence. Fowler played center throughout his college career at Maryland. He said he wasn't upset when Faine was drafted.
Linebackers Kevin Bentley and Ben Taylor switched positions. Bentley move to the strong side, with Taylor making the switch to the weak side. Davis wants to have his linebackers versatile enough to play more than one spot.
In Dave Campo's system, the weakside linebacker lines up on the side opposite the tight end. He's freed up from engaging the tight end by the left defensive end.
Cornerback Anthony Henry was on the field but didn't participate in drills. Henry strained a hamstring on Friday and has been held out for precautionary measures.
Running back Jamel White was taken off the field early in practice and didn't return. White suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose when he was hit on the helmet on Saturday. He re-injured his nose when hit on the helmet again on Sunday.
Kelly Holcomb had a rough day. Rookie cornerback Leigh Bodden, who seems to make a key play every day, intercepted a Holcomb aerial. Kalvin Pearson made a diving interception of another Holcomb errant throw.