Charlie Frye was a rival of Ben Roethlisberger growing up in Ohio because the two lived just an hour apart. They were rivals in the Mid-American Conference - Roethlisberger at Miami and Frye a year behind him at Akron.
Now they are rivals in the AFC North, and Frye is definitely doing the chasing after Roethlisberger and the Steelers won the Super Bowl. Frye was a modest 2-3 as a starter, but he says in 2006 the gap between him and Roethlisberger might not be as wide as it seems.
"The rookie quarterback you saw last year, you won't see next year," Frye said. "I'm only going to get better."
Frye was in Phoenix with his family for about a month after the Browns season ended to get away from football for a while, but he is back in at the Browns training complex in the Cleveland suburb of Berea working out with strength coach John Lott and studying film with offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon and quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer.
"The main thing I'll be keying on is timing," Frye said. "That's something you work on during the offseason or during training camp.
"I think I need to put on some pounds. I'm going from five games to hopefully playing more than 16 games. It's going to be a big difference. A little bit of weight could help. I'm at 215 right now. I think I want to gain no more than ten pounds."
Frye rode the bench the first 11 games of the 2005 season. He was made the starter against Jacksonville Dec. 4 and started the rest of the season.
Frye completed 98 of 165 passes for 1,002 yards. He threw four touchdown passes and five interceptions and was sacked 22 times. That would be 72 sacks projected over a 16-game season; Frye has said he must throw the football sooner.
Coach Romeo Crennel, in his end-of-season assessment, said Frye played well, but Crennel said there would be open competition in training camp for the starting quarterback job, just as there will at other positions.
Being at the complex in February is a way for Frye to get a jump on Trent Dilfer, his competition and good friend. Dilfer had knee surgery earlier in the month to repair a partially torn right patella tendon. Though Dilfer will be able to watch film and study with Frye, it will be a few weeks before he can run around and start throwing passes in the fieldhouse.