BEREA – Jerome Harrison is back with the Browns.
Though he will not be at Thursday’s OTA practice that is open to the media, being excused to handle some personal matters, head coach Eric Mangini said in his morning press conference that the running back had practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and is expected to return for next week’s work.
“It helps for all of the players to be here while we’re installing things,” Mangini said. “I’m happy Jerome was here, and I look forward to having him back next week.”
Harrison, who came on like gangbusters last season, including rushing for 286 yards, the third-highest total in NFL history, Dec. 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs, had been among several restricted free agents who are staying away from camp because they’re not happy with the contracts they’ve been tendered. Mangini said Harrison is the only RFA who has practiced.
In another major bit of news, Mangini heaped praise onto second-year wide receiver Brian Robiskie of Chagrin Falls High School in suburban Cleveland, and Ohio State.
“Brian’s had an outstanding camp,” the coach said. “He has shown up quite a bit. He’s running good routes. He’s made big plays almost every day.”
The first of three second-round picks in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Browns, Robiskie never really got started as a rookie. He finished with just 7 receptions for 106 yards (a 15.1 yards-per-catch average), or about what he did in many games with the Buckeyes. He did not catch a touchdown pass.
Mangini is not sure why Robiskie struggled to grasp the pro game last year, but said it’s neither the first time he’s seen that happen to a highly-rated player, nor will it be the last.
“Each player hits at different spots,” Mangini said. “You can’t approach each player the same way.”
As such, the coach is not even close to pushing the panic button on Robiskie, whose father, Terry, was a long-time assistant coach with the Browns and also served as the team’s interim coach for five games at the end of the 2004 season after Butch Davis resigned.
“You can’t make a judgment on any player for several years,” Mangini said. “It’s a player’s entire body of work over that time.”
The Browns have a lot of young wide receivers but no significant veterans. Mangini said he would be open to bringing in a “name” veteran “if it makes sense. We’re open to that possibility at all positions.”
Speaking of possibilities, Mangini said “you can’t rule out” the chance that the Browns will use quarterbacks Jake Delhomme, the starter, and backup Seneca Wallace on the field at the same time.
“Seneca has different talents than Jake,” Mangini said. “He puts some other types of pressure on defenses.”
The coach also hinted that wide receiver/wildcat quarterback Joshua Cribbs could be on the field with Delhomme and Wallace.
Third-round draft pick Shawn Lauvao has been used exclusively at right guard thus far so as to not overload him, but Mangini said the Arizona State product will eventually start seeing some time at left guard as well.
Defensive lineman Shaun Rogers and punter Dave Zastudil continue to sit out as they rehabilitate injuries that ended their 2009 seasons prematurely, and Mangini said it’s likely they will not work at all during the OTAs.
As he has done throughout his short tenure here, Mangini praised ever-improving second-year center Alex Mack, but avoided making direct comparisons, talent-wise, to the center he drafted in the first round in his first season of 2006 with the New York Jets, Nick Mangold. The ex-Ohio Stater has quickly developed into one of the top players in the NFL at that position.
Finally, the head coaches of the three major pro sports teams in Cleveland have always been a fraternity, and as such, Mangini said he sent a text to Mike Brown “the other day” after he was fired as head coach of the Cavaliers.
“I like Mike,” Mangini said. “I hope things work out well for him and the Cavs.”
Mangini said he’s also well aware of the pressure Cleveland head coaches face because of the city’s 46-year championship drought.
“It’s a passionate town,” Mangini said. “You get it, though. You understand it.”