"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we take a look at the beginning of mandatory minicamp this week, what some former players are up to in their respective cities, and more.
Full-squad minicamp begins this week for the Cleveland Browns. It will run from June 5-7, which is from this Tuesday to this Thursday. What will be the difference between this minicamp and the previous OTA sessions that have taken place over the past few weeks? It is mandatory. The only player who had been choosing to sit out, according to reports, was veteran kicker Phil Dawson. While I am not certain of this, I believe the media will be able to attend each of the minicamp practices, so maybe we'll hear some more about how some of the youngsters are looking before training camp rolls around.
Former Browns RB Peyton Hillis, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, talks about how close everyone is on the team and in the organization:
"Out of all the teams I've been on," Hillis said, "this is the team to me that is most-closely combined just because everybody knows each other at some point, everything has come together, everybody's from the same branch, same tree - Coach (Brian) Daboll, Coach (Romeo) Crennel, Scott Pioli, everybody's from the same tree. When that leaks down, and we all know how big of a leader Coach Crennel is, we're really rallying behind that and hoping that good things happen."
Cleveland technically has a lot of connections too from the Mike Holmgren/Tom Heckert branch, but obviously it's not as much as the Chiefs have. Jamaal Charles, in speaking about Hillis, has said, "He'll come in and get all the tough yards and all the pounding." Hillis signed with the Chiefs for 1-year, $3 million after the Browns chose not to retain him.
Staying with the AFC West, former Browns safety Mike Adams is receiving the opportunity to start with the Denver Broncos, where he is replacing the retired Brian Dawkins. Adams talked about how this feels very different for him in Denver, because he's never be "the" starter during the offseason; he's always had to compete for a job (including last year with Usama Young):
"I've never walked into a situation where it was like, 'Oh, I've got the job. I can be comfortable.' I came from behind every time. Every time," Adams said. "I'm more comfortable coming from behind."
Adams is a guy I can pull for after his years put in with the Browns.
It is always nice to be a little ahead of the curve. In last week's edition of The Sunday Five, I speculated on whether the team would have a roster spot for defensive end Marcus Benard, or if he'd be a victim of the numbers game. One of the players heavily talked about after this past Wednesday's OTA session? It was Benard, although most of the reports talked about how thankful he is to have been given a second chance, he did mention that he is on the same page as the coaching staff in terms of where he needs to be (the lockout hurt him last year, as he guessed wrong):
Now he’s back down to 260 pounds – "a beautiful weight for the pass rush and to compete on the field and help the team," he said.
How heartbreaking is it to be an Indians fan again? Although the team is definitely still fighting and in contention, as soon as they reach their peak, Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana, Jack Hannahan, and others go down with an injury. Cavaliers fans didn't get the greatest news either when it was revealed that they got the fourth overall pick in the draft and not something higher. That opens the door for fans to remain super optimistic about the Browns, thanks to the one-two punch of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson.