LeCharles Bentley: Waiting and Watching

The injured center is pondering a quicker comeback... plus, some final thoughts on mini-camp...

Back in February it seemed certain Browns center LeCharles Bentley would have another surgery on his damaged left patellar tendon and miss all of 2007.

Now, however, Bentley is telling friends he might wait until the end of summer and then decide whether to have surgery. He is determined to play again and might want to make his comeback this year.

Coach Romeo Crennel said Bentley is not participating in the organized team activities. Nor will Bentley participate in the full-team minicamp June 11-13.

Bentley's left patellar tendon was torn on the first play of training camp last summer. The two-time Pro Bowl player -- who played four years with the Saints before signing a six-year, $36 million contract with the Browns in March of '06 -- had surgery the next day. A staph infection developed and it had to be cleaned out, setting back his rehab.

Bentley has been training in Arizona. In February, general manager Savage said the leg had to get stronger before surgery could be performed. If there is another surgery Bentley won't play until 2008 and might never play again.

"He has to make that decision," Crennel said. "Nobody can make it for him. Our doctors and medical people have talked to him. He also got a second opinion. He'll take all that information and do what's best for him."

Bentley could start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list if he does not have surgery. The Browns would then put off until mid-October a decision on whether to carry him on the active roster or put him on injured reserve.

If Bentley does surprise everyone and plays, he would be the center, Eric Steinbach the left guard and Joe Thomas the left tackle on a revamped offensive line.

MINI-CAMP WRAP: Browns coach Romeo Crennel is trying to break in a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback. In other words, a lot of work remains before training camp begins at the end of July.

Crennel expected bumps in the recent rookie minicamp in which quarterback Brady Quinn was on the field for the first time as a Brown. Likewise, players were trying to absorb the scheme of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski -- a scheme they hadn't seen until about 15 hours before the first practice.

Practice was sloppier the second day than the first. All in all, Quinn acquitted himself well. He definitely had command of the huddle.

Players lined up incorrectly at times, some passes were off the mark and some passes hit receivers in the hands, then kept right on going. The errors were the growing pains of a team trying to run a practice with an abundance of players who will not be invited back for the full-squad minicamp next month.

In all there were seven draft picks, nine undrafted rookies under contract and 32 tryout players in the minicamp. Crennel and his staff needed the 48 bodies to conduct practice.

"We added some more stuff (the second day) and it looked like we added stuff because we couldn't get lined up and we didn't throw as well as we did against the air the first day," Crennel said. "I tell everybody, 'You look better in shorts and against air than you ever do against bodies and in pads.' I told them they have to keep up or they're going to get left behind."

Quinn was part of the mess at times, but it was impossible to know for sure whether the incomplete passes should be blamed on Quinn or the receiver when the ball landed about five yards in front of the target. Judging by the way receivers coach Wes Chandler barked at tryout player Willie Idlette, Idlette might have been the culprit.

"When you throw more stuff out there and guys are running routes they are not supposed to run, your quarterback doesn't look as good compared to throwing against air," Crennel said. "We've had to adapt to what he has to work with."

Quinn was on target on two deep throws. One was to Idlette and one was to Kendrick Mosley.

THE WEAKEST LINK: One area that will be addressed heavily next offseason is the defensive line. Despite signing end Robaire Smith and nose tackle Shaun Smith in free agency, the line is still the weak link of the defense. That is due in part to the fact the Browns have not drafted a defensive lineman on the first day since they drafted Gerard Warren in the first round in 2001. They drafted two defensive linemen this year, but they waited until the end to do it, taking Melila Purcell from Hawaii in the sixth round and Benjamin Pittman from LSU in the seventh round.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the practice was a little bit too short for me. I've been waiting so long for this opportunity and now that it's come, I guess I'm excited about tomorrow and the next day." -- Quarterback Brady Quinn after the first day of rookie minicamp.

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