Vinny: Desire Brings Bentley Full Circle

Vinny: Desire Brings Bentley Full Circle

The Browns center is headed to Berea, but still faces some hurdles before taking the field for the Browns. After a patellar tear and a staph infection, though, the 2006 free agent signee is still entirely focused on playing football again...

Many Mondays turn out to be a slow moving, rather blah type of day.

But this is not like any given Monday in the life of LeCharles Bentley... the possibility of stepping onto a football field is much more promising today.

Dr. Russell Warren, the surgeon who repaired Bentley's knee, has cleared the player to resume his career with the Cleveland Browns.

Despite Bentley receiving clearance to play again, the Browns will administer a team physical, just like they do with every player prior to taking the field. Additionally, the team may opt to have Bentley evaluated by an independent doctor to assure all involved are in agreement with the prognosis.

"With the news from Dr. Warren, I am that much closer to being able to play again," Bentley said. "He (Dr. Warren) is the finest in his field, he is the expert, and he is the doctor that has gotten me to this point and he believes I am fine, which is all that really matters to me."

Bentley, a Cleveland native signed a long-term deal with the Browns prior to the 2006 season. For Bentley, the dream of playing for the Browns became a long-shot. Immediately injured in a contact drill as last year's training camp started, Bentley has endured four procedures to correct a torn patella tendon and staph infection, which ravaged his knee and surgical work done on the patella tendon.

Following numerous months of inactivity between the third and fourth procedures for the infection, which became life-threatening, life without football had crossed his mind, but he was determined to play the game again.

There was a time they (doctors) thought I wasn't going to make it. It (infection) was bad, we weren't just talking about my knee, they were talking about my life," Bentley said.

After extensive therapy in Arizona and at the Ohio State University medical center, Bentley began to regain strength in the leg, but the knee was improving slowly, which was a cause of some concern for Bentley's surgeon, Dr. Russell Warren. An additional surgery was scheduled for early June to further clean-up the knee, which would be the next step for Bentley to resume a normal life outside of the game of football.

I wasn't going to just accept not being able to play again, that isn't me. My dream was to play for the Browns and I was determined to do that," Bentley said. "When I was examined before the surgery, Dr. Warren was surprised how well the knee had healed and how the therapy had gone."

For the past six-weeks, Bentley has gone through rigorous physical therapy and training, all with the intent on regaining his strength and being in a position to get back on the field, with the Browns July 27th training camp date in mind.

Dr. Warren's office would not speak specifically about Bentley when contacted, but noted delight of hearing the news report that he (Bentley) had gained clearance to resume his career.

As explained to the Orange and Brown Report this afternoon, if Bentley passes the team physical, he is expected to be held out of contact drills for four-to-six weeks, at a minimum. In addition to the restrictions, Dr. Warren has approved for Bentley to continue heavy physical conditioning under the guidance of the Browns medical and training staff.

Until next time,

V

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