Northcutt Back in Lineup

With the loss of Braylon Edwards for the remainder of the season, WR Dennis Northcutt finds himself back in the starting mix. The veteran talks to Fred Greetham about his feelings about the 2005 season and helping a young starting quarterback...

Berea – It's been an up and down season for Dennis Northcutt. The sixth-year receiver was listed as the starter for the first half of the season before giving way to Braylon Edwards.

However, last week's season ending injury to Edwards' knee put Northcutt back in the top role.

"The opportunity has presented itself," Northcutt said. "When Braylon went down the next person has to step up and that's me."

Northcutt has 26 receptions for 323 yards (12.4), including two touchdowns. He had four receptions against the Bengals for 16 yards in the season opener and had four receptions for 60 yards against the Ravens. His best day in yardage was against the Titans when he caught three passes for 80 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown.

Northcutt caught 62 passes for 729 yards (11.8 avg.) in 2003 and had 55 catches for 806 yards (14.7 avg.) last season. His numbers are less than half of what they were in the previous two seasons with just four games to play.

"I just look at it one game at a time," he said. "I just want to do what I can to help the team to win.

"It is all about the team," he said. "It doesn't do any good to pout or complain. I've been through a whole lot, but I enjoy playing this game."

Besides playing receiver, one of Northcutt's primary roles is as a punt returner. He has returned just 23 punts for 201 yards (8.7 avg.), with a long of 37 yards. He has had several good returns negated by penalty, including two returns for touchdowns—one in the opener versus the Bengals.

Northcutt has returned two punts for touchdowns in his career, both in the 2002 season.

Northcutt was asked if this was his most disappointing season.

"Not at all," he said. "My second year was. With the injuries and wondering whether or not they were going to get rid of me."

In 2001, Northcutt had just 18 receptions for 211 yards (11.7 avg.) with no touchdowns.

Northcutt is looking to pair with Charlie Frye as the rookie makes his second start.

"He's starting this week, and as a veteran I have to help him," Northcutt said. "It's a team sport and anything we can do to help him out, we have to do."

The OBR Top Stories