BEREA — In the middle of the rumors of the Cleveland Browns sale from Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslem III becoming official, the Browns were toiling on the practice field.
Flying under the radar with the arrival of second-round supplemental draft pick Josh Gordon is Travis Benjamin.
The fourth-round draft pick from Miami (Fla.) is one of the young players stepping up and making a splash in the early going. His world class speed is well documented, but the fear is that he wouldn’t be physical enough to get away from bigger, stronger defensive backs.
Benjamin is listed at 5-10, 175 pounds, but appears slighter than that, but he’s not worried about that.
“Even though I might be small in size, I’ve been playing football since I’ve been young,” Benjamin said. “And mostly all of the guys are bigger than me. I’ve got to keep that mind-set that I’ve got to play big.”
In Wednesday’s afternoon practice, Benjamin took the ball away from Emanuel Davis in the end zone for touchdown on a pass from Colt McCoy.
“I think he handles the traffic pretty well and you can see he caught the ball in contested situations extremely well,” Pat Shurmur said. “We knew that he had the skill and ability to play in this league and at least to this point, he’s doing a good job of improving his game.”
Shurmur was asked if Benjamin has exceeded his expectations.
“I don’t know if (it has been) more than I expected,” Shurmur said. “I anticipated with his natural size that he might get banged around and be less efficient, but he has done a great job.”
Benjamin says he’s used to being pushed around.
“That’s all part of being physical,” he said. “There’s not one player on the field that’s not physical. Every time, every play, has contact. I’m used to it.”
After the Browns drafted Benjamin, Shurmur talked about him being able to contribute this year and Shurmur said through the early going, he doesn’t think anything has changed. He thinks Benjamin and Gordon will step in quickly and responded right away when asked if he still felt that way.
“Absolutely,” Shurmur said. “I think both of those guys, if they progress like they’re doing, at the pace they’re going now, then I think they are going to be major contributors. Both those guys.”
Moore, Rubin Back: DL Ahtyba Rubin was taken of the Active/PUP list and TE Evan Moore off the Non-Football Injury list. Both players have to practice without pads for three days.
Moore wouldn’t say what his injury was, but did say he was injured preparing for the upcoming season.
“I was working hard and had a minor setback,” Moore said. “I feel fine and have just been working to get back. I feel great and am anxious to be part of practice.”
Big Pop: LB Chris Gocong decked RB Montario Hardesty as he neared the goal line on the final play of goal line plays. With three seconds to play from the eight-yard line, QB Brandon Weeden threw a swing pass to Hardesty, who tried to get into the end zone, but Gocong flew over and made he sure he didn’t make it.
Shurmur said Weeden has to learn from the situation.
“The play came in and it was called properly,” Shurmur said. “But, if you throw the ball in play, you have to get it into the end zone.”
Richardson Sits: RB Trent Richardson sat out the second half of practice with a headache, according to Shurmur.
“He was dealing with that,” Shurmur said. “He competed in the other drills.”
Injury Update: With the return of DL Ahtyba Rubin and TE Evan Moore, WR Carlton Mitchell (leg), DL Frostee Rucker (undisclosed), DL Phil Taylor (pectoral), DB Usama Young (undisclosed) and DL Brian Schaefering (thigh) were on the sidelines.