Berea—The age of 30 is widely considered the death knell for an NFL running back.
Happy 30th Jamal!
Lewis turned 30, but Eric Mangini said that doesn’t concern him.
“Isn’t 30 the new 20?” Mangini said. "I don’t really look at it as when you hit 30 you fall off the cliff. I’ve been around a lot of backs that have been productive after the age of 30.”
Lewis said he’s glad to finally reach the age.
“I was turning 30,” he said. “Now, I’m actually 30. I feel like I did yesterday.
“I’m tired of talking about it,” he said. “I’ve been asked about it for five years.”
Just last year, Thomas Jones had his most productive year as a running back after he turned 30. Mangini said the coaching staff made no special plans because of his age and will not with Lewis, as well.
“There was no different approach because he hit 30,” he said. “He did everything that everyone else did.”
Mangini did use Leon Washington more as a change of pace back and that might have helped Jones. It appears that Jerome Harrison or James Davis could bring that element into play.
Lewis is coming off of back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. Lewis said he doesn’t get a feeling until the first regular season game on how the season might go.
“I won’t know until the first game when the real bullets start flying,” he said.
Lewis said he hasn’t slowed his preparation coming into the 2009 season.
“I haven’t paced myself,” Lewis said. “I’ve done what has been asked of me. I knew it would be a tough camp with Coach Mangini, but I’ve stayed healthy and am ready.”
Mangini said he has been a big help with the younger backs.
“I’ve enjoyed him working with the younger guys,” Mangini said. “I think that is a trademark of a pro. He spends time with those guys and tries to help them avoid some of the mistakes he made early in his career.”
Lewis said he doesn’t know if he’s going to carry the load or split time with the other backs.
“I’m not sure where we’re going with that,” he said. “That’s a question for the coach. In my past, I’ve carried the ball 25 to 30 times a game, but the offenses have evolved.”
Boyer Back: Former Browns LB Brant Boyer is working with the Browns as a coaching intern under the NFL’s program. Boyer played 12 seasons in the NFL with the Jaguars and the final three with the Browns from 2001 to 2003. He has been at training camp since July 24 and will remain through the preseason working with the defense. Boyer excelled on special teams during his tenure. He lives in Utah with his wife and two sons and has been involved as a hunting guide in Colorado since his retirement from the NFL.
On Rogers, Harrison: No update was given on the progress of DL Shaun Rogers and RB Jerome Harrison. Mangini was asked if he was alright with Rogers not playing in any of the preseason games.
“I want to see everybody,” he said. “You want everybody to work together in these games but you have to make adjustments.”
Rogers was doing some individual drills with the trainers at practice on Tuesday. Mangini said that Rogers is making progress
“I’m pleased with the progress he’s making.”
Unlike Rogers, Harrison appeared in the first preseason game but had just three carries for four yards.
“He’s been in all the meetings” Mangini said. “It’s just of getting back in the physical side of things. He’s done a lot of positive things. When we get him back, we’ll see where he is.”
O-Line Update: Although Mangini gave no update on OL Rex Hadnot, he did see he had enough information from prior to his injury to know that he would be an asset.
“We’ll have to see when he can get back,” Mangini said. “Rex did a lot of nice things prior to the injury. He can play the left side, right side or center. He has a lot of versatility.”
Hank Fraley and Ryan Tucker appear to be in battles for backup positions. Tucker is listed as the backup at right guard to Floyd Womack, while Fraley is listed as the starting center ahead of No. 1 pick Alex Mack. However, Mack is seeing more and more time with the first team.
“For me, I’m age blind,” Mangini said. “It matters what they’re doing. They’re both good workers. Hank has worked at center and guard and has worked with Alex. Hank is a smart guy.
“Tuck is a tough, physical guy,” he said. “I don’t have an age bias.”
Tucker is 34, while Fraley will turn 32 on Sept. 21.
Mangini said he is happy with the progress Mack has made.
“I thought he made some good steps from the first game,” Mangini said. “Not that he played poorly in the first game. He’s running a lot fewer laps now.”
End of Camp: Wednesday marks the official end of training camp. It was the last day practice was open to the public.
“It’s always great to have the fans out there,” Mangini said. “There are long days when they pick you up with their energy.”
The players will be out of the hotel as of Wednesday.
“As far as if they’re still under curfew will depend on how they do in practice.”
Thanks Dino: Long time Browns employee Dino Lucarelli announced his retirement on Wednesday. Lucarelli had been with the Browns for the past 35 years and most recently he was the team’s Director of Alumni Relations. He will remain with the team as a consultant.
“After 35 years with the Browns I have decided to retire,” Lucarelli said. “I am celebrating my 75th birthday this month and look forward to the additional time I will be able to spend with my family. I’ve had a tremendous run, having had the unique opportunity to be a part of my hometown team, and I want to thank everyone I’ve worked with during those 35 memorable years.”
Prior to working with the Browns, Lucarelli worked for the Indians (1967-75 and the Barons (1962-67).
In 2002, the club named the media room the “Dino Lucarelli Media Center” and the Browns ‘Good Guy’ Award is named in honor of him. He will be recognized at the home opening against the Vikings.
“I’d like to congratulate Dino Lucarelli for his 35 years of dedication to the Browns,” Mangini said. “I started out in PR and he was great in helping me when I got started. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. He’s truly a warm and genuine person.”