Indians Notebook: Frye's been working out, getting pumped for the season, but Anderson says he's "fighting all the way; and more.
Charlie Frye is jazzed now that training camp has kicked off.
Aiming to hold off Derek Anderson and win the Browns’ quarterback job, Frye disdained vacation when the team dispersed after June minicamp.
“I’ve spent some time working out in Arizona with (Donovan) McNabb and his guys, out there in that heat,” Frye said. “I think I’m in good shape. I’m ready to go. Let’s just go out here and work our butts off and see what happens.”
Head Coach Romeo Crennel said Frye has “a leg up” on Anderson, based on making 18 starts to Anderson’s three with the Crennel-era Browns.
Crennel quickly added, “That doesn’t mean it’s not a competition.”
It was hard to take much from Friday’s short practice. On one short throw in a seven-against-air drill, air won. With no defense, Anderson short-hopped a ball to rookie Syndric Steptoe.
That memory will evaporate when the hitting starts.
“I’m in it,” Anderson said of the run to be No. 1. “Fighting all the way.”
Frye practiced under watch from his former University of Akron coach, Lee Owens. Afterward, Frye handed a $50,000 check to a boys club Owens supports.
“Coach Crennel likes competition at every position,” Frye said. “No. 1, that builds depth. No. 2, guys push each other.”
Frye, Anderson and Ken Dorsey did Friday’s pushing. Rookie quarterback Brady Quinn was the team’s only contract-related holdout.
General Manager Phil Savage vowed to “work into the night” to finish a deal with the former Notre Dame star.
Quinn, a No. 22 overall pick, is supposed to be an NFL-ready rookie. Can he start right away?
“Every day that passes, it eliminates some of that chance,” Savage said. “(Even with) Brady coming into the beginning of training camp, he was going to have to perform at a level that was clearly better than the level of Charlie, Derek and Ken Dorsey.”
On the other hand, Savage said, “I’m not fearful at all that Brady can’t catch up. Plenty of people are excited about Bra¬dy. We are, too. We’re still anxious to get him in here.”
Rookie Round 2 pick Eric Wright signed in time to make Friday’s first full-squad practice but didn’t make it to Berea until 8 p.m.
Crennel seemed to give him a pass, saying younger players from the West Coast don’t always get flights worked out on time.
Left tackle Joe Thomas, who has the same agent as Wright, signed a $23 million deal that ties him to the Browns through 2011, then suited up and practiced.
“Both sides felt a bit of pressure,” Thomas said. “We were lucky to get the deal done.”
He didn’t run out to Denny’s to start spending like a rich kid.
“I signed at about 1 a.m., and you don’t get the money for a while,” he said. “I got a new house. That’s enough.”
Relieved over his contract resolution, Thomas said, “It was vitally important for me to be here today.”
Thomas projects as the starting left tackle. That would leave incumbent Kevin Shaffer and veteran Ryan Tucker as right tackle candidates.
Savage said there have been brief discussions about wheth¬er Tucker can fill the open right guard job. Savage said the team doesn’t want Shaffer to play guard or center.
In a media huddle Friday, Savage said:
- On Jamal Lewis. “A lot of people will think about what he’s done the last two years (906 rushing yards, 1,132 yards) as opposed to when he rushed for (2,066 yards in 2003). I think he’ll end up right in between. The mentality and fierceness he brings to the football field ... it’s invaluable.”
- “It’s just a matter of time before the Browns are a legitimate contending team.” He declined to predict anything specific about 2007.
- Wideout Braylon Edwards and safety Brodney Pool need to play like high draft picks who have been around a few years.
- The stadium, which became a mess when a water line broke during a Kenny Chesney concert, will be ready for the Aug. 11 preseason opener.
- Second-year cornerback DeMario Minter has a foot problem, which isn’t a good problem after not playing amid injury issues as a rookie.
- Center LeCharles Bentley was examined by doctors twice this week and will remain out while rehabbing. “This has been the plan all along,” Bentley’s agent, Jonathan Feinsod, told The Associated Press. “LeCharles is continuing to do what he’s been doing. Everything is on course. We couldn’t be happier. He’s continuing to get stronger and better.”
- Charlie Frye said new coordinator Rob Chudzinski did a thorough job installing an offense in the spring. “There’s no excuses for not knowing the system now,” Frye said. “Everything’s in.”
- The team opted for a faceless press guide cover, with three or four unidentifiable players lifting their hands into a group fist in front of the Cleveland skyline.
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail email@example.com