Hallen In the Middle of It All

The Browns had a lot of hopes pinned on their big-ticket free agent acquisition, LeCharles Bentley. With his season suddenly gone, another player with local roots steps in to fill the void. The OBR's Fred Greetham talks to Bob Hallen about the challenge he now faces...

BEREA - With just barely the curtain going up to begin the 2006 season, Bob Hallen finds himself as the Browns starting center.

There was little fanfare when the Browns signed him in free agency to be a backup at center or guard for the upcoming season.

However, things change quickly in the NFL and with the season-ending knee injury to LeCharles Bentley, Hallen is thrust into the starting lineup.

"You just never know in this league," Hallen said. "You're always one play away from starting.

"You've got to prepare yourself like you're starting, so when your time comes you're good to go."

Hallen, 31, was also a local product graduating from Mentor High School and Kent State. Hallen has started 47 games in his eight year NFL career, including just five starts in the past three years with the Chargers.

"I knew when I came in here that I would be a backup," Hallen said. "I know the nature of the game at this level and injuries are a part of the game."

With the knee injuries to Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman last year, Hallen was looked at more as a veteran backup to the guards than to Bentley.

"He has versatility and he's played in the league," Romeo Crennel said. "We were looking for that center/guard combination. That's why we signed him."

Hallen doesn't profess to be the type of Pro Bowl player Bentley is.

"I'm going to go out there and play my best every snap," he said. "I'll try not to let my teammates down."

Coleman has confidence in the Browns' newest center.

"Bob's a veteran and he'll step in and do a good job," he said. "We're comfortable with him in the mix."

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