BEREA - Joe Jurevicius said there was no truth to a published report that said his surgically repaired knee might not be ready for the 2008 season. In fact, he said he plans to be ready for training camp.
“It’s been reported that my knee is worse than thought,” Jurevicius said. “I think it’s important for the fans of Cleveland to know that I will be back.
“The most important thing is the staph infection is gone,” he said. “And I’m on schedule for training camp.”
Jurevicius had arthroscopic surgery on his knee to clean out cartilage after the season, but developed a staph infection and underwent “a couple surgeries.”
He said the additional rest might be a positive.
“At this stage of my career it might be a blessing to miss the OTA’s,” he said.
Romeo Crennel said Jurevicius deserves to go at his own pace.
“The guy is a veteran,” Crennel said. “He’s been around a long time and he deserves the benefit of doubt.”
Jurevicius has been to three Super Bowls and wants to be a part of the Browns’ upcoming season.
“We have an opportunity as a team to do something special,” he said. “We have a playoff opportunity and this is a special place to be a part of that.”
Jurevicius showed in the off-season that he is the ultimate team player, something that is rare in today’s professional sports. The Browns signed Donte Stallworth as an unrestricted free agent to be the second receiver and improve the receiving corps.
“Joe is a professional,” Crennel said. “I think it was a great team move on his part.”
Derek Anderson proved very comfortable with Jurevicius last season, especially on third down. He caught 50 passes for 614 yards, including three touchdowns. Many came on third down.
“He’s a very important player for us,” Crennel said. “He will help the young guys and we really look forward to having him back out there.”
Crennel agreed that Jurevicius is a big part of the Browns offense.
“He’s a really good third down player,” Crennel said. “He came and said he thought it might be better for him and the team to not have the wear and tear as the second receiver.”
Jurevicius downplayed his role in going to the team.
“I did it to help this football team,” he said. “It’s all about winning for me. I really believe this team can accomplish good things and before I bow out, I want to go out a winner.”
There has been speculation that this will be Jurevicius’ last year.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
LeCharles Misses: Crennel brought up the fact that OL LeCharles Bentley missed a team meeting while he briefed the media after the morning practice.
“He’s inside the building and I am not going to speculate on anything until I meet with him,” Crennel said.
Winslow does More: TE Kellen WInlsow took part in some of the team drills and caught a deep pass from QB Brady Quinn. The ball was deflected by a defender at the last moment, but Winslow was able to bring it in.
“Winslow’s doing better,” Crennel said. “He’s doing a little more as we go along.”
Baxter Comeback: DB Gary Baxter was on the field and doing a little more in the morning practice.
“He’s working hard and making progress,” Crennel said. “He probably tried to come back too soon last year.
“We told him to go at his own pace,” he said. “He looks okay, but when it comes time we’ll have to go with the guys who can help us the most.”
Baxter likes his progress.
“My progress is good,” he said. “I feel good out there. No one has seen me but I am moving well and playing football again.
“I’m getting back into the thick of things and making the adjustment of moving from cornerback to safety.”
Baxter is trying to return from tearing both of his patellar tendons two seasons ago. He was on the active roster last season, but re-injured his knee and finished the season on injured reserve.
“It’s not been an easy road,” he said. “But I will continue to lift and stretch and try to get stronger for training camp.”
Temper, Temper: Rookie free agent OL Nathan Bennett from Clemson got into it with veteran LB Antwan Peek in 11-on-11. Bennett tried to throw a punch, but missed and was restrained by teammates.
“It’s just competition,” Crennel said. “Sometimes, the guys are overzealous.”
DA’s Take: QB Derek Anderson is impressed with the offense thus far after the OTAs and the mini camp.
“I think we’re continuing what we did last year and progressing,” he said. “(Rob Chudzinski) is finding new ways to get things going.”
Quick Hits: WR Travis Wilson continues to take advantage of the absence of WR Joe Jurevicius and Donte Stallworth. He caught a deep pass from QB Brady Quinn in 11-on-11…WR Braylon Edwards made an outstanding leaping catch over the middle from QB Derek Anderson…CB Terry Cousin worked in place of CB Brandon McDonald with the first team at right corner…RB Jerome Harrison made a nice one-handed catch on a pass in the seam from Anderson.