THE QUIET STORM FRONT: Much of the attention at Cleveland Browns training camp was on the quarterback competition between Kelly Holcomb and Tim Couch.
As well it should be. The Couch-Holcomb competition could be the NFL's most
interesting and best quarterback competition in camp.
But the Browns are almost as interested to see how another player fares as he
attempts to come back from microfracture surgery on his knee.
The Browns would love to see Courtney Brown recover and become the kind of
player they expected when they drafted him first overall in 2000.
Brown cleared the first hurdle in his comeback when he passed his physical and
was cleared to take part in some practices -- with limitations.
Brown will work his way into full team drills by taking part in individual
drills. Brown also will practice once per day until he is ready for more.
Coach Butch Davis said the only timetable is Brown's.
Brown set one concern to rest before camp, though, when he said that the
frustration of missing half the team's games the last two seasons and of going
through the complex surgery -- holes are drilled in the knee and scar tissue is
allowed to form and replace cartilage -- has not diminished his desire to play.
"I'm excited for the season and I'm ready to go play ball," he said.
In itself, that's not much of a statement. But Brown is a quiet guy, and he'll
never say much. When he said he was excited for the season, he said it with
determination and resolve. Brown appears anxious to come back and prove he was
worthy of the first overall pick in the draft.
Reviews of Brown's career since being the top pick have not been glittering.
He's shown flashes of ability, but not the consistent dominance expected of
someone taken that high.
Knee, ankle and neck injuries have almost wiped out his last two seasons.
His teammates like and respect Brown, and they root for him as well. But they
also know this is a key season for him.
"Realistically this is judgment year," Kenard Lang said. "You can't beat around
the bush about it. This year is his year. He's got to do it.
"Everybody knows how this business goes. They don't just keep people hanging
around just to hang around. I've got faith that Courtney is going to do it. I
expect to see him another six or seven years injury-free and making the Pro
CAMP CALENDAR: Rookies took the field July 22, with veterans joining them
July 25. Camp ends Aug. 13. An Aug. 2 scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills
highlights the early weeks of camp.
LEGALLY BLOND: Tim Couch showed up at camp slimmer and more fit, and
blonder. Yes, he has added some highlights to his hair, and he is noticeably
more blonde. His teammates response? "They've been killing me," Couch said.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It doesn't matter what they make -- our salary is already
set. We are going to pay seven million dollars for the first two quarterback
positions -- it doesn't matter who starts. The dollars are the same. What I'm
rooting for is that we have a quarterback who's playing for us that wins
football games and is able to got out there and get it done. It really doesn't
matter how much he's earning -- it's truly that simple." -- team president
Carmen Policy, on whether Tim Couch's $6.2 million salary will help him win the
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WR Andre Davis caught everything thrown to him. In
one day, Davis caught three deep balls for touchdowns -- and showed impressive
concentration doing so. On one play, two players flashed in front of Davis, yet
he still caught the ball. On another, a defensive back tried to tip the pass but
missed and Davis still caught it. Davis remains the team's fourth receiver, but
his play shows the early hype about the Browns receiving corps is justified.
ROOKIE REPORT: The Browns were the only team to start camp without a
single draft choice signed. That meant they all missed valuable time. And it
didn't put them on the coach's good side. "I'll only talk about the guys who are
here," Butch Davis said, "because these are the guys we're going to win with."
INJURY REPORT: Defensive tackle Gerard Warren bruised his right knee on
the first day and missed the next two days of work. The injury is not believed
to be serious. ... Anthony Henry also missed a couple early days at cornerback
with a strained hamstring. He was not expected to miss much time.
Training Camp: Week 1 Wrap-Up
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