Former Lion Brown tutoring First-Pick

As first-round pick offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus continues to learn in his first year with the team, his guidance is being paved by former Lion great Lomas Brown. More inside.

Lomas Brown was the Lions' first-round pick in 1985. When he looks at right tackle Gosder Cherilus, the Lions' first-round pick this year, he thinks of wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions' first-round pick last year.

"You know what that kind of reminds me of?" Brown said. "A lot of people were talking about Calvin Johnson. 'Oh, he's a bust.' "

Then Brown thinks back to 1991, when he was the Lions' left tackle and they drafted wide receiver Herman Moore in the first round. Brown and teammate Kevin Glover weren't impressed at first.

"Remember Herman's first two years, man? He couldn't catch a cold," Brown said. "I remember me and Glove went to the locker room after practice. ... 'Glove, man, they wasted their money on their first-round pick. He's horrible.' "

Cherilus hasn't necessarily been horrible during the Lions' organized team activities. But he has been beaten in pass-blocking drills at times. He is adjusting to the speed of the NFL and no contact is allowed -- a tough challenge for a guy whose strength is run blocking and physical play.

"A lot of times it looks like he's grabbing and he's not punching the guy, but it's all about the timing," Brown said. "He can learn. He'll get that down during training camp. The more reps he gets with it, the better he'll get. So I'm not really concerned with him.

"I do like what I heard, that he's got a nasty attitude. You can't teach that."

Brown went to seven Pro Bowls in 10 years with the Lions. He was a backup when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season -- while several current Lions coaches and players were with the Buccaneers.

Coach Rod Marinelli, the Bucs' defensive line coach then, called Brown the best scout team player he had ever seen -- studious and enthusiastic.

Brown plans to work with Cherilus this offseason and in training camp, though the specifics haven't been ironed out.

"I don't think he's very far (away)," Brown said. "I just think there's fundamental things for him. "When you're young and you step into this league, man, it's rare that you get some guys who can come and start right now."

NOTEBOOK:

  • Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was absent the last two times the media was allowed to watch the Lions' organized team activities. The practices are voluntary. "It's personal for him," coach Rod Marinelli said. "I know where he's at. It's a private issue for him."
  • Defensive tackle Landon Cohen, a seventh-round pick out of Ohio University, finally joined the Lions for his first practice during their last week of OTAs. He was ineligible to practice until then under NFL rules because of his college schedule. "It's frustrating," Cohen said. "The one thing that I really have to do is just get all the mental stuff down. Physically I'm ready to go and I'm in shape and ready to do the things."
  • Marinelli is pleased with his team's physical conditioning -- and wants to keep it that way. "The thing that impresses me now with them -- and I've just got to just keep hitting it -- is how lean," Marinelli said. "This team is lean. Everybody that walks in, 'Wow, is this a lean team.' And we've got to continue that through the summer and stay quick and fast."
  • QUOTE TO NOTE: "The game of football is special. I tell you all the time. It's a special game." -- Coach Rod Marinelli, on inviting high school players, coaches and teachers to watch an offseason practice.

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