BEREA — Brady Quinn was not present for the opening day of Browns camp Friday, but his presence was felt everywhere at the team’s training facility.
Many fans were wearing the rookie quarterback’s No. 10 jersey, while many players were bombarded with questions about the former Notre Dame heartthrob.
Quinn, however, remains unsigned — out of sight but not out of mind.
“I wouldn’t say I was disappointed he’s not here,’’ general manager Phil Savage said, choosing his words carefully. “If he was here, we would be talking more about other things. It is a disappointment of having to actually address it.’’
Coach Romeo Crennel echoed those thoughts and subtly expressed his displeasure by refusing to refer to Quinn by name. Instead, the 22nd overall draft pick was called “the quarterback.’’
“(Not being at camp is) not on me, that’s on him,’’ Crennel said. “Not being under center and feeling that rush coming at you, he’s missing some valuable time.’’
With Quinn a contractual holdout, Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson only have to battle each other for the starting job.
Fellow veteran Ken Dorsey also remains on the roster, making Quinn’s chances of starting Cleveland’s regular-season opener a long shot, at best.
“Every day that passes, it will eliminate some of the chance he had,’’ Savage said, adding that negotiations are ongoing with Quinn’s representatives. “For Brady to win the job, he was going to have to perform at a level that is clearly better than Charlie or Derek or Ken Dorsey in the first place.’’
Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., who underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in the offseason, passed his physical and participated in the light workout. He is scheduled to address the media this morning for the first time since the operation.
l Gary Baxter’s remarkable recovery from double patellar tendon reconstructive surgery continues. The eighth-year cornerback, who blew out both knees in an Oct. 22 home game against Denver, is on schedule to practice Monday. Crennel said the team wanted to give Baxter a little extra recovery time before putting him on the field.
l Cornerback DeMario Minter is in a walking boot because of a “foot issue,’’ according to Crennel. Minter missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury and is in danger of not making the team.
“He needs to get back on the field so we can see what he can do,’’ Crennel said sternly.
Top draft choice Joe Thomas signed his contract at 12:30 a.m. Friday, exactly 15 hours before the Browns held their first training camp practice. The left tackle from Wisconsin is expected to start, but that plan could have been thrown off had he held out.
“It was vitally important for me to be here,’’ Thomas said. “As an offensive lineman, we need training camp more than anybody. I’m ready for (today), when camp really starts with two-a-days in pads.’’
l Second-round draftee Eric Wright also agreed to terms late Thursday, but did not arrive in Cleveland in time for practice.
“Sometimes, guys kind of forget that when they’re on the West Coast, it takes a little longer to get to the East,’’ Crennel said of the cornerback from UNLV.
The cleanup of Cleveland Browns Stadium is expected to be complete in time for the team’s preseason opener Aug. 11 against Kansas City. The eight-year-old facility sustained major water damage on its lower levels when hundreds of toilets overflowed during a recent Kenny Chesney concert.
Savage said the Browns have not made contingency plans to move the game to another city, but could do so as late as Aug. 4 if work on the stadium falls behind schedule.
Frye presented a check for $50,000 to Team Focus — a nonprofit organization that provides fatherless boys with role models — following practice. The donation consisted of the proceeds from the first Charlie Frye Golf Outing, which he hosted in Ashland. Frye has been active in the group for five years, dating back to his days as a star QB at the University of Akron.
In order to make room for Thomas and Wright on their 90-man camp roster, the Browns had to release two players. The ax fell on rookie linebacker Kevin Sears and offensive lineman Pete Lougheed, both of whom were added in the winter as street free agents. Once Quinn signs, the club will have to cut an additional player.
Savage said Kevin Shaffer would see time at both tackle positions, but not at guard or center.
- The GM identified the third wide receiver spot as a camp battle to watch. Former Giants wideout Tim Carter, Travis Wilson and Joshua Cribbs are vying for the job.
- Friday marked the one-year anniversary of center LeCharles Bentley’s major knee injury.
- An estimated crowd of 2,400 took in practice on the warm, sunny afternoon. The camp capacity is 2,500.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.