Asante Eyes His Chance

Drafted in the fifth round, safety Larry Asante might be more ready for the NFL that some suspect. Fred Greetham talked to the Nebraska defensive back about where he stands as mini-camp closes...

Browns rookie DB Larry Asante has a very good chance to see a lot of playing time for the Browns at safety. Last year's starting safeties, Brodney Pool (UFA Jets) and Abe Elam (holdout) have not been around since OTAs, leaving Asante and T.J. Ward vying for playing time. Ward was a second-round pick from Oregon, while Asante a fifth-round pick from Nebraska.

The other veteran safeties in camp are Ray Ventrone and Nick Sorenson, who are primarily special teams players. Mike Adams can play safety, but has been used more at cornerback. DeAngelo Smith is also in the mix.

Asante knows there's a great opportunity for him.

"Definitely, this is a great opportunity for me and I plan to make the most of it," he said.

Asante said he's trying to soak up as much of the mental part of the game as he can.

"I believe I understand the system," Asante said. "The packages are in and now I have to go home and study and be ready for training camp."

Asante feels he has adjusted to the NFL, but knows everything will increase as the season approaches.

"I'm expecting things to pick up when training camp starts," he said. "Guys are competing for starting jobs."

Being a former Nebraska player, he was asked about his thoughts on the Cornhuskers joining the Big 10.

"I talked to some guys back there and emotions are high with some," he said. "I think it is a good move."

Hardesty Misses, Wright Back: After missing parts of the first two days of minicamp, DB Eric Wright was back on the field, as was TE Evan Moore.

RB Montario Hardesty missed the practice with a minor leg injury. LB Scott Fujita was held out with a cut suffered Friday.

Rookie safeties Larry Asante and T.J. Ward spent much of practice on the stationary bikes, as did DB Benjamin Burney and WR Jake Allen. DL Shaun Rogers, P Dave Zastudil, DL C.J. Mosley, LB Eric Barton were all held out. Mangini indicated that he thought all of the players held out should be ready for training camp.

Big Arm: DL Brian Schaefering lined up at the 50 and threw the ball approximately 70 yards in the air right through the goal posts that are much tighter than the regulation goal posts.

Schaefering ran off the field and headed to the locker room with his hands in the air yelling,

"I told you I should be a quarterback."

Schaefering (6-4, 295 pounds) played college football at Lindenwood.

LB David Bowens said Schaefering's throw allowed the team to not have to go to meetings.

Mangini Happy: Mangini said the Browns accomplished what they set out to do in minicamp and said when the team returns in six weeks, they should be ready to go.

"I thought we made a lot of progress with a lot of new guys," he said. "That's what this time is about in making the foundation for training camp. Ideally, you want to walk away from this camp with a good feeling heading into training camp. I feel good about it."?

Long Shots: K Phil Dawson was good from 55 yards and 38 yards in hurry up field goal attempts as time was running out. Meanwhile, K Shaun Suisham missed on a 55 yard attempt as he was short at least 12 yards.

Lap Runners: OL John St. Clair and DB Chris Roberson ran laps in the minicamp final practice. St. Clair lined up at right tackle with the first team and rookie Shawn Lauvao was at right guard.

"I believe in rotating those guys," Mangini said. "It gives you much more flexibility.

"Shaun has done a good job with his opportunity."

McCoy, Ratliff Update: Rookie QB Colt McCoy was able to run the first team offense in the two-minute drill. He first connected with RB Jerome Harrison for a short gain. After an incomplete pass, he hit Stuckey and TE Benjamin Watson to near midfield. After having a pass batted down by DL Derreck Robinson, he hit Harrison to the 45.

On third down, McCoy threw a pass right into the arms of CB Sheldon Brown, who couldn't hang on to it. On fourth down, McCoy threw incomplete to WR Brian Robiskie.

QB Brett Ratliff had the same drills and started with completions to WR Syndric Steptoe and WR Carlton Mitchell before throwing two incomplete passes in a row.

On third down, Ratliff hit Mitchell for a big gain to the defense's 20. Short completions to Moore and Steptoe put the ball inside the 10. After throwing three straight incompletions, Ratliff hit Moore for an apparent touchdown, but illegal procedure was called. On the replay, DB Gerard Lawson batted down the final pass.

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