Thursday Morning Practice Wrap

David Carducci provides the first report from this morning's practice. ALSO: Notes on the progress with remaining draft choices, a Couch/Holcomb update, Joe D talks to the team, bumps and bruises from the practice field, <I>and</I> the riddle of Robert Griffith's changing numbers solved!

BEREA - Chaun Thompson has finally signed and two more draft picks could be in the fold soon.

According to Browns president Carmen Policy, third-round pick Chris Crocker and fifth-round pick Michael Lehan could agree to terms as soon as this afternoon.

"I think we stand a very good chance of seeing Chris Crocker sign today," said Policy. "We are working feverishly to also have Michael Lehan, if not signed, at least agreed to terms by the end of the day."

While Thompson is signed, he missed his 14th consecutive practice Thursday morning, and will probably miss No. 15 in the afternoon. Unlike Jeff Faine and Ryan Pontbriand, who stayed relatively close to the Cleveland area before signing, Thompson remained in Texas during negotiations. His flight will not arrive in Cleveland until 6 p.m.

Fifth-round running back Lee Suggs continues to heal quickly from shoulder surgery and may be ready to play sooner than expected. His injury had allowed the Browns to focus on signing other picks in the last few weeks.

"When he was drafted, most people didn?t think (Suggs) would play at all in 2003," said Policy. "We thought we might put him on the (physically unable to perform list), and then he could play once we got to October. Now, the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic did a pretty good job, and it looks like he may be ready even for the opener."


DeLAMIELLEURE HONORED - Former Browns and Bills offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure was in Berea Thursday, two days before his induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fane in Canton.

The Browns unveiled the bust of DeLamielleure that will be added to the facade of Cleveland Browns Stadium with the rest of the members of the Browns' "Legends Club".

DeLamielleure also spoke to the current Browns after they completed their morning practice.

"I just told them this is not a very complicated game, how I played it," said DeLamielleure. "I just played it one play at a time. It's that simple. The game is not played by rocket scientists. If you did good on a play, don't think about it. If you did bad on a play, don't think about it."

It was the same advice offered to him by Jim Ringo, who coached DeLamielleure for eight of his 13 years.

By the way, the most vivid memory in DeLamielleure's career is still "Red-Right 88."

"I wish the ball had hit me in the head," said DeLamielleure, referring to the infamous interception that sealed the Browns' 14-12 playoff loss to the Raiders in 1980. "The ball went right by my big head. I wish it had hit it and gone into the bleachers. That was the closest I ever came to a Super Bowl, and I think that team could have gone ... I still think about it. I think about it when I'm eating breakfast. 'Why didn?t we kick it.' Cockroft would have made it."

Ironically, as DeLamielleure was talking, Don Cockroft walked into the media room at the Browns' practice facility.

"I promise I would have made it," Cockroft shouted from the back of the room. Of course, Cockroft missed two extra points that day, but DeLamielleure claimed that was because Paul McDonald wore ski gloves, affecting the hold on both kicks.


THE REAL STORY - Safety Robert Griffith finally revealed the true reason for his switching his jersey number in practice from 24 to 4.

The No. 4 is special to him for several reasons. First, his mother and inspiration, Virginia, wore the number as a college point guard on the Tupelo and Bowie State Basketball teams. Second, after walking on at San Diego State and spending three semesters, studying for an engineering degree, practicing, and working a job in the evening, Griffith finally earned a scholarship in his fourth semester of college.

After his difficult road to finally reach the NFL, Griffith wore the No. 4 in practice in his eight years with the Vikings for those same reasons.

"It represents perseverance," said Griffith. "People don't understand what I went through to get to the NFL."


COUCH-HOLCOMB UPDATE - Both quarterbacks looked sharp in the morning practice.

Couch was particularly sharp on a series of short passes during 5-on-7 drills, completing six straight passes, including a touchdown to tight end Aaron Shea. Couch was intercepted by Daylon McCutcheon, however, on his second series.

Holcomb's highlight was a quick, snap throw to Shea on a tight-end slant. He also showed nice touch on a difficult sideline throw to Antoine Burns.

Holcomb made the throw of the day during team drills, rolling to his right and lofting a perfect pass to tight end Chad Mustard in traffic in the end zone. Unfortunately, Mustard dropped the ball.


BUMPS AND BRUISES - Defensive lineman Israel Idonije received treatment on the field for what looked to be a minor ankle injury.

Tight end Rod Monroe was limping noticeably during the morning practice. Monroe missed all of 2002 on injured reserve with a leg injury.

Running back Jamel White was back to running full go during Thursday's practice. He said afterward that he still feels some affect from the blows to the head he suffered over the weekend


COMING ALONG - Andra Davis is looking like more and more of a factor in the battle for the starting middle linebacker job. Davis received a pat on the head from coach Butch Davis after penetrating and forcing running back James Jackson to change direction in the backfield during a middle drill. Jackson spun away from Davis and was tackled for a loss.

Fellow middle linebacker candidate Barry Gardner, who continues to run with the first team, wore the yellow "leader" jersey on defense Thursday.


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