BEREA - Jamel White isn't taking anything for granted as he prepares for the Browns' preseason game Monday against Green Bay.
You'd think that White is confident of making the 53-man roster, but such is not the case. If anything, he thinks he's fighting for a spot at running back.
"I don't know if I'm pleased, because I don't know how they're going to use me," White replied when asked if he's happy with his progression to date. "Are they going to put me in as a third-down back, or am I going to be on special teams? If I make the team, I'm pleased."
Lambeau is the site of White's best game to date. Last Dec. 23 White was virtually all of the offense in a Browns' 30-7 loss. He rushed for 131 yards on 21 carries, including a long gain of 51 yards, and he added 85 yards on nine carries. Cleveland's lone touchdown came on a 3-yard pass from Tim Couch to White.
The thought of returning to Lambeau doesn't get White any more excited than usual. It's simply another chance to prove that he belongs.
"I'm just going to go out there and focus like I did the last time," White said Friday as the Browns wrapped up a practice. "How many plays they give me, I'm just going to go out there and do my thing and try to help the team win."
The running back spot remains one of the hot topics as the regular season opener against Kansas City approaches. Although White has performed better than the rest of the field, the job seems to be rookie William Green's to lose.
If stats were the only gauge, White would be the man. He was outstanding in the preseason opener, rushing four times for 20 yards and catching three passes for 81 yards, including a 45-yard scoring pass from Couch, against Minnesota.
Coach Butch Davis used White sparingly last Saturday against Detroit. Green had eight carries for 28 yards and caught a pair of passes of 10 yards, while White had just one carry for 1 yard and one reception for 8 yards.
Davis isn't saying which back will start against Green Bay, but odds are that Green will get the call. Another factor in the competition is James Jackson, who appeared to be third in the race prior to last Saturday. Jackson helped his cause against the Lions with seven carries for 35 yards and two receptions for 25 yards.
IMPROVING: Offensive lineman Qasim Mitchell didn't suffer from heat exhaustion, as initially thought when he went down on the practice field Thursday. Mitchell has been diagnosed with a bruised lung, resulting from a collision with defensive end Courtney Brown.
Mitchell remained in a hospital Friday and is recovering well.
ROOKIE PROPS: Linebacker Kevin Bentley received the Maurice Bassett Award at the Browns' annual kick-off luncheon Friday at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The award is given to the top rookie in camp. Voting is done by members of the Cleveland Chapter of the Pro Football Writers' Association.
ALL SET: Davis spoke briefly as he addressed a large crowd at the luncheon. In speaking confidently about the team's future, he singled out the work ethic displayed by the players.
"There are an enormous amount of expectations. People think it will be easy to go 7-9," Davis said. "One thing the players know is that we'll have to go back and win those first seven games. One thing about this team is that it's full of guys with character and a willingness to pay the price."