By Tony Grossi
The Morning Kickoff …
The sky is not falling: So Phil Taylor rips a pectoral muscle lifting weights in May, Scott Fujita is suspended three games for something he swears he didn’t do three years ago, Chris Gocong tears an Achilles tendon on Saturday, and now Trent Richardson is sweating out an MRI on his left knee.
So, when will this expansion Browns curse be lifted, you are wondering. How soon before NFL owners approve the sale of the Browns to Jimmy Haslam?
Pause and exhale.
Every team has its issues in training camp. Let’s look at those of the Browns’ rivals in the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens: Pass rusher Terrell Suggs is out for most, if not all, of the season after tearing an Achilles under suspect circumstances in the offseason … Behemoth left tackle Bryant McKinnie – whose weight actually is “down” to about 360 pounds -- reported to camp with a lower back injury. A good day for him is when he makes it through practice. Honest. He is working with the second team and stalling the club’s plan to move Michael Oher to right tackle … And, of course, kicker Billy Cundiff now carries his epic missed 32-yard field goal in the AFC Championship Game on his shoulders. He sought the help of a kicking consultant in the offseason – a sure sign that the yips have entered his consciousness.
Cincinnati Bengals: Starting left defensive end Robert Geathers will miss most of the preseason with a knee injury suffered on the first day of camp … Rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, a first-round pick, is out with a cracked bone in his leg and may be lost for another two to four weeks. It’s tough for a rookie to make up lost time right at the onset of his first training camp … The entire defensive secondary is banged up. Only one player in the secondary, an undrafted free agent, has participated in every practice … The search for a No. 2 receiver to complement A.J. Green has not produced a clear-cut favorite yet.
Pittsburgh Steelers: An escalating contract dispute is keeping No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace out of camp. He is missing valuable time while the Steelers adapt to a new offense being incorporated by new coordinator Todd Haley … With Rashard Mendenhall out until December after knee surgery, the top two running backs are Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer … Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 30, is throwing less in camp after revealing he has a partial rotator cuff tear … Of the two projected rookie starters on the offensive line, Ohio State tackle Mike Adams actually has looked better than Stanford right guard David DeCastro … Headhunter linebacker James Harrison has not been on the field since May 23 because of a sore knee.
Final thoughts: So, you see, every team has obstacles to overcome in training camp. The Browns are no better off, or worse, than any of their rivals. The regular season is 30 days away. A lot can happen by then.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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