A little under a year ago, the Cleveland Browns 2006-2007 season received a major blow when center LeCharles Bentley suffered a serious injury on the first day of training camp. Through the entire season and parts of the offseason, it was often speculated that Bentley would "definitely need surgery", "would miss the entire 2008 season", or "would be forced to retire". For the time being, none of those statements will be coming true.
Today was decision time for Bentley, and he has decided NOT to have further knee surgery yet. Although Bentley can decide to change his mind at any time of course, the fact that he did not commit to it already surely shows that there is some hope for him returning this season. It is expected that in three to four weeks, Bentley will inform the Browns on whether or not he will opt to have surgery or if he'll attempt to participate in training camp.
Although it would be absolutely fantastic if Bentley could have a Braylon Edwards type of comeback in training camp, I don't expect things to be that easy. I would bank on Bentley attempting training camp, eventually resulting in him being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Then, the Browns could bring him back Week 7, basically giving him two to three extra months of rehab before returning to the lineup.
- Rookie Confidence: Offensive lineman Joe Thomas has made his first statement: he wants to start all 16 games this season.
- Get Big: "Small" running back Jerome Harrison bulked up by 17 pounds in the offseason, and says that he is just as fast, if not faster than he was last year. Let's hope that he can pick up the blocks a little bit better.
- Baxter's Progression: With the extended hope for Bentley, let's not forget about the remarkable strides still being made by cornerback Gary Baxter. The veteran cornerback, who has gained an enormous amount of respect for his comeback efforts from teammates and fans, was doing some running on the field on Monday.
- Missing Players: Cornerback Kenny Wright has missed two consecutive practices due to family issues. Running back Jamal Lewis had an infected tooth.
- Player Returns: Although it's doubtful that tight end Kellen Winslow or cornerback Leigh Bodden will be back for minicamp next week, it is expected that linebacker Leon Williams will return.