BEREA—Besides unsigned draft choice Joe Haden not being on the field for the first practice, there was a notable other player missing.
Running back Montario Hardesty was conspicuously absent during the first practice and Eric Mangini announced when asked about the rookie back that he injured his knee last week when the rookies and injured players were practicing.
“(Hardesty) twisted his knee the other day in a drill and you probably won’t see him for a couple weeks,” Mangini said.
Mangini was asked if any procedures or surgeries were required.
“We’re just rehabbing him.”
Hardesty figured to be big in the team’s plans after trading up in the second-round to draft him. Hardesty had several injuries in college at Tennessee, but Mangini said this was not a re-occurrence.
“This was nothing related to the injury he had in college,” Mangini said.
It has been speculated that Hardesty was entering training camp ahead of Jerome Harrison and Mangini was asked about it.
“The best way to look at it is to look at it not as a depth chart, but as a rep chart,” Mangini said. “Jerome would have taken some of the reps, as would Montario.”
Harrison is coming off the final three games where he rushed for 561 yards. Mangini said he didn’t think that Harrison’s confidence was shaken with the addition of Hardesty.
“I’ve always seen Jerome as being confident and he’s worked and corrected some of the things we’ve asked him to correct,” he said. “I think he has a great opportunity in front of him.”
Haden Update: There is nothing new to report on the progress of No. 1 draft choice Joe Haden. He missed his first full team practice and Mangini said he hasn’t spoken with Haden.
“I have not talked with Joe,” he said. “I know Matt and Tom (Heckert) are working with his agents. He is missing time and it is very, very important and you can’t get those days back.
“He’s going to have to spend extra time to catch up,” he said. “He’s going to have to go through the whole process.”
Mangini was asked about a report from Mike Lombardi of NFL.com that said Haden might not be fast enough to play cornerback in the NFL.
“A lot of rookies go through a transition process and some of them don’t play the same way until they have the process down and they can be themselves,” he said. It takes time and each player is different.”
Battle at LB: One of the deepest positions is the linebacker position, where there are no less than eight players who have started many games in the NFL.
D’Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton are the two inside linebackers returning after season-ending injuries. Jackson had a rocky off-season as he wanted a long-term contract and signed a one-year deal.
“I enjoy it here,” Jackson said. “My goal is to stay healthy. I am confident in my abilities.
Jackson admitted this camp is critical for him.
“This camp is very important for me.”
Jackson said he doesn’t worry about the competition.
“The more, the better,” he said. “It’s about winning games and competing. It makes us all better.”
Jackson and Chris Gocong lined up on the inside, along with Scott Fujita and Matt Roth on the outside in team drills.
“There are really quite a few linebackers,” Mangini said. “With D’Qwell, there are some cob webs because he hasn’t played in quite some time. There’s a lot of competition and it’s more of a rep chart, than a depth chart.”
Mangini loves versatility and Jackson said he can go outside.
“If they want me to rush the edge, I’m up for it,” he said with a smile.
“That’s the nice thing about having guys that can play inside and outside, they both rush the passer,” Mangini said.
Roth is listed at 275 pounds and Mangini is happy with his progress.
“Matt has played at 270 to 275,” he said. “He’s a big linebacker. I’m pretty comfortable where he is.”
Mangini said the process will work itself out.
“You’ll work on who makes the team and who will play on special teams,” Mangini said. “There are a lot of roles for a lot of different people.”
Barton is entering his 12th year and is coming off neck surgery.
“Barton is full go and is trying to get back into it like D’Qwell is,” Mangini said. “I thought he was playing pretty well (when he was injured).”
Delhomme Excited: QB Jake Delhomme looked like he was in charge on the field and he thinks the first day of practice went well.
“Just getting in here and getting the feel of things, it’s obviously the first day,” Delhomme said. “We have a lot of moving parts and we’re working hard.
“It’s a good start.”
Delhomme says he truly relishes the opportunity.
“As you get older you enjoy it more because you don’t know how long you have to play,” he said.
Mangini Knows Browns Impact: There is no question this has been a rough summer for Cleveland sports fans with LeBron James leaving town and the Indians out of the pennant race. The Browns are trying to fill the void.
“I want to accelerate the process as quickly as possible,” Mangini said. “If I could press the pass forward button, I would probably get carpal tunnels.”
Sitting Out: Besides DL Shaun Rogers, DL C.J. Mosley and DB Coye Francies on PUP, OL Tony Pashos (cold), OL Scott Kooistra and OL Paul Fanaika all were on the stationary bikes.
Evan Moore Show: TE Evan Moore had quite a first practice as she caught several passes and was picking on the safeties. Moore was using his 6-6 frame to his advantage. Rookie T.J. Ward intercepted a pass in 11-on-11 drills, but Moore took it away from him before the pair were downed.
New Numbers: DB Eric Wright is now wearing 21, while DB Sheldon Brown is wearing 24. DB Joe Haden is slated to wear 23 when he arrives.