BEREA - Chaun Thompson looks back at his August, post-holdout declaration that he would be caught up within two days and admits he sounded "like a dumb rookie."
"I wake up every day with that on my mind," said the linebacker from tiny West Texas A&M, who the Browns selected in round two of the 2003 NFL Draft. "I'm not playing right now and (in August) I said in two days I would be playing. It was a dumb rookie mistake."
At the time, Thompson said some of his teammates asked him "you really think that? Then they said ‘well, we'll see."
He first realized he may have overestimated himself when he was handed his new playbook.
"They give me this big playbook, and I'm thinking ‘oh my goodness, what did I just say," said Thompson.
With just one game remaining in his rookie season, Thompson has just four tackles on defense and another 10 on special teams. He still thinks he's on the right track to becoming a playmaker on the Browns defense.
"(The coaches) tell me that everything I'm doing now is going to make me a good athlete and football player," said Thompson. "They say just keep doing what I'm doing and I'll be fine."
According to Thompson, that means continue to study film, continue to practice hard, and continue to get bigger.
"I want to get bigger, faster and smarter in the off-season," said Thompson.
Thompson is listed at 6-foot-2 and 250-pounds in the Browns media guide. That's more wishful thinking. The rookie claims he is closer to 230 pounds. "I want to be 250," he said.
Butch Davis said he'd like Thompson to earn his way to the lineup with his play on special teams.
"That's where he's made his biggest contribution, as did Andra Davis a year ago," Butch Davis said. "We've had (Thompson) in at times to play some, and I think he's learned a lot. And I think it shows some maturity on his part to recognize that he didn't know what he didn't know."
Davis feels just as good about Thompson as he did when he took the chance on him in the second round.
"I like his upside," said Davis. "The one thing that is obvious is how much speed and athleticism he has. He can be a force in a blitz package off the edges. This is one of the things he still doesn't know is that some of the zone coverages, there are some awareness issues he still has to learn. And man coverage issues, he has to master the skills to be able to cover some pretty talented guys coming out of the backfield."