While the attention of fans and the media continues to be on the cornerback position, the Browns quietly worked out a player at a different injury-impacted position last week.
The OBR has learned through league sources that the Browns worked out veteran OG Gene Mruczkowski last week in Berea. Mruczkowski is a Cleveland native, having played high school football at Benedictine.
Mruczkowski (6'2", 305) demonstrates once again the continuing strength of the New England / Cleveland connection. The five-year veteran began his career in New England as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and played with the Patriots through the end of last year's training camp.
An honorable mention All-Big Ten player and four-year starter at Purdue, Mruczkowski started all 49 games in college following a red-shirt freshman year, and helped his team by shifting from left guard to center as a junior.
After looking at him as a rooke free agent, the Patriots stashed Mruczkowski on their Non-Football Injury list during the 2003 season. The lineman emerged from that to play seventeen games over the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the Patriots. He was released in the final roster cuts by the Patriots in September of last year, and was immediately snapped up by the Miami Dolphins, where he played all last season. The lineman was not re-signed by the new Dolphins regime this year.
The tryout may represent some lingering concern on the part of the Browns regarding injuries sustained early this Summer. Starting RG Ryan Tucker will be out for a number of weeks due to a hip injury. OG Rex Hadnot is filling in for Tucker as the starting RG. Seth McKinney has had injury problems over the last several years, and finished last season on the IR.
In addition, Isaac Sowells, a guard through his first several years in the NFL, has been seen working out at tackle during OTAs.
Like most back-up offensive linemen, Mruczkowski brings the asset of versatility, having played guard as serving as a starting center for two years while at Purdue.
There is no word of a contract offer being made by the Browns. His name may come up again in the event of another injury on the offensive line, or coaching dissatisfaction with some of the existing backup options.