Berea—He might be the least known wide receiver in the NFL to have led the NFC in receptions just three seasons ago.
He’s Mike Furrey and it was just 2006 when he led the NFC with 98 receptions while playing for the Lions. That total was good enough for second overall in the NFL that season. He had 1,086 yards, including four 100-yard receiving games that year and six touchdowns on the season.
After that season, Furrey’s production dropped off precipitously.
In 2007, Furrey had 61 receptions for 664 yards and one touchdown in 16 games. Last season, he started just two games and played in nine with 18 receptions for 181 yards. He missed the final month of the season on injured reserve with a concussion.
Furrey, 32, is trying to resurrect his career with the Browns and is currently listed as the starting receiver opposite of Braylon Edwards. He caught three passes for 26 yards against the Packers, two for first downs on third down.
Furrey might be this year’s equivalent of Joe Jurevicius or the 1980’s Browns Brian Brennan. Listed at 6-0, 195, he’s more similar in size to Brennan.
“I go in when they tell me to,” Furrey said. “The media sometimes tags me as a slot receiver but I move all around. I have fun with it.”
Furrey is excited for the opportunity he has with the Browns. He was born in Galion, Ohio and played high school football at Hilliard High School. He walked on at Ohio State before transferring to Northern Iowa.
“This is 2009 and I’m in Cleveland,” he said. “The past is history. However, we have some good chemistry in the receiving corps.”
Furrey is trying to win the starting spot as he battles Josh Cribbs, David Patten and rookies Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi.
“Whatever I’m asked to do, I will relish the opportunity and make the most of it,” he said. “I understand what the defense is doing and the challenge of the upcoming game.”
Furrey is excited about playing the Lions this Saturday after spending the past three seasons in Detroit.
“I’m looking forward to it."
No Hurry to Name a QB: Mangini continues to stick with his mantra of not being in a hurry to name a quarterback, whether it be for this week’s preseason game or for the regular season.
“I’d like to go through the whole week and then name who will start (against the Lions),” he said. “It’s about making the right decision and not just a quick decision.”
Generally, the third preseason game is viewed as the dress rehearsal for the regular season and most fans felt the quarterback decision would be settled by then. Next Saturday, the Browns will host the Titans in the third preseason game and the position still might not be settled.
“Not necessarily, it doesn’t have to be determined by then,” Mangini said. “The preparation doesn’t stop. If you get somebody injured, then you have to go on.
“They’re both getting prepared to do that, no matter which way it goes,” he said. “You see the same movement on the offensive line. Yesterday, we had Eric (Steinbach) at left tackle and Hank (Fraley) at left guard. That’s not wasted work, but sometime, it might be used.
“You prepare two guys to be able to go in and play,” he said. “It can happen quickly. Last year, with New England it happened in the first game.”
Mangini said that he expects Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson to split reps with the first team again this week.
“You want to work the quarterbacks with the first group as much as you can,” he said. “Since the first group doesn’t play the whole time, you want to split it up accordingly.
“Since Brady had the two-minute drill, DA might get the next opportunity in that.”
Mangini said both quarterbacks are progressing in the system.
“Overall, both of those guys are getting a greater awareness of the tools available and how to approach it.”
Baby Steps: Mangini said the Browns practiced much better Tuesday night after stating the team was not very good in the morning.
“Practice last night was much better,” he said. “What I liked (Tuesday night) was (the offense) had one timeout and needed to score a touchdown. The guys were able to take advantage of the defense’s weakness and attack it.”
Rogers, Harrison Slowed: DL Shaun Rogers and RB Jerome Harrison have been on the stationary bikes the past couple of days. Mangini, per usual, would not give any indication whether the pair will play against the Lions.
“We’ll see where they’re at by the end of the week.”
With Harrison missing time, rookie RB James Davis is getting more reps.
“It gives James Davis an opportunity to show what he can do.”
Worth Quoting: Mangini on facing QB Brett Favre in his debut as Browns coach after coaching Favre last year with the Jets.
“I think it makes for good TV.”
Not Practicing: At the beginning of practice, WR David Patten, RB Jerome Harrison, LB David Bowens and TE Robert Royal were doing individual drills with the trainer. DL Shaun Rogers, WR Paul Hubbard and TE Martin Rucker were on the stationary bike.