BEREA — Brady Quinn was quick to establish a theme at his first news conference as an official member of the Browns.
“The only thing I can control is what I do now,” he said Wednesday morning.
That means getting reacquainted with teammates, earning the respect of the coaching staff and winning the starting job. And putting a lengthy, sometimes acrimonious, holdout in the rearview mirror.
When Quinn was taken
No. 22 from Notre Dame after an agonizing draft-day slide, he said he wanted to start at quarterback Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh. The 11-day, 16-practice holdout that ended Tuesday altered his expectations somewhat.
Is it a goal to start this year?
“Without a doubt,” he said without hesitation.
When do you think you can do that?
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s up to the coaching staff. There are some things you can’t control. I’m going to come in, try to catch back up and do the best I can out on the field.”
Quinn flew in from Arizona on Tuesday night and signed a five-year, $20.2 million deal, with $7.75 million guaranteed and incentives that could take the deal to $30 million. He attended quarterback meetings Tuesday night and practiced Wednesday afternoon. It was closed to the media and public.
That’s when Quinn began trying to close the gap created by his holdout. He’s well behind Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson — if only because of NFL experience and time in training camp. Coach Romeo Crennel won’t rule him out as the opening-day starter, but he’s a huge long shot. Instead, the Browns would be happy if he developed quickly enough to start around the bye week Oct. 21 — if needed.
“He missed a significant amount of time, missed an entire cycle of putting in the offensive system,” general manager Phil Savage said Tuesday. “He’s got a lot of work to do.”
Crennel said Quinn will begin fourth on the depth chart. Quinn said he’s ready to pay his dues.
“I don’t deserve anything,” he said. “I’ve got to earn a lot, not only with the coaching staff but also with the team. You deserve to have to earn everything that you get.”
Quinn spent much of the holdout working out at a training facility in Arizona. He said he worked out twice a day and threw at least once a day. He also looked at film of the minicamps and the chunk of the playbook he was allowed to take away from team headquarters.
Mostly he waited.
“It was a very long, enduring process,” said Quinn, who wore a Browns golf shirt, shorts and flip-flops. “It’s something I never imagined going through nor wanted to.
“It’s awful. You grow up loving the game you play and then you’re told you can’t come in unless you sign a contract.”
Following a stream of questions about the length of the holdout, Quinn stressed that he left the negotiations in the hands of veteran agent Tom Condon.
“I said, ‘Hey, you know more about this than I do,’” Quinn said. “You hire someone who is much more advanced than you doing these sorts of things. You try to remove yourself from that and let the team and agent do what they’re supposed to do.”
The holdout, as one always does, turned some fans against Quinn. He didn’t appreciate the “spoiled” tag that was thrown around, but knows it comes with the territory.
“You never want to come off that way,” he said. “If anyone knew me, they wouldn’t say those words. People are going to be upset. You understand that.”
Did he let the fans down?
“I hope not,” he said. “You let people down when you lose. And I don’t think we’ve lost a game yet, so we’ve still got high hopes.
“The biggest thing is hopefully winning football games and playing well. You’ll see me out there with the fans this week and from here on out.”
The Browns open the preseason Saturday at home vs. Kansas City. Quinn said he didn’t expect to play, but Crennel said he might see some time in the fourth quarter.
“It’s about the team, it’s not about me,” Quinn said.
The Browns said left guard Eric Steinbach has a sprained right knee, an injury Crennel will address today. Steinbach, who signed a seven-year, $49 million deal in the offseason, left practice on Tuesday and didn’t return.
Contact Scott Petrak at 336-4054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.