BEREA — No. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas was always expected to win the starting left tackle job, but it became a near certainty when starting right tackle Ryan Tucker was suspended Friday for testing positive for steroids. Kevin Shaffer, the incumbent at left tackle and Thomas’ competition, is the favorite to replace Tucker.
Coach Romeo Crennel, who makes rookies earn his trust, refused to get ahead of himself.
“Joe is making good progress,” Crennel said Friday. “But we shouldn’t assume that he’s going to be the starter. If Kelly Butler is the best right tackle, Joe could be competing with Shaffer.
“We’ll use the rest of training camp to determine who the best five linemen are.”
Shaffer had been getting snaps at both tackle spots during camp, and Crennel said the coaching staff will discuss moving him to the right side full time. During a one-hour scrimmage Friday, Thomas (left) and Shaffer (right) were the starters.
“I feel like I’m where I need to be,” Thomas said earlier in the week. “(Starting) is definitely still my goal. There are a lot of guys fighting for positions and I’m just one of them.”
He was badly beaten by linebacker Kamerion Wimbley for a sack during the scrimmage.
General manager Phil Savage gave reporters an update on the negotiations with rookie holdout Brady Quinn. He didn’t sound optimistic.
“We’ve acknowledged the fact that there is a quarterback premium,” Savage said. “We’ve had some flexibility. But we’ve got to have some flexibility from the other side to get a deal done.”
Savage’s chief target was agent Tom Condon.
“Last year we had a third-round pick who held out for about the same amount of time,” Savage said, referring to receiver Travis Wilson, also a Condon client. “If any of us were going to kid ourselves to think that a first-round quarterback would be here on time when a third-round wide receiver wasn’t, then we’re all foolish.”
Charlie Frye opened the scrimmage with the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 2 defense and led the team to a field goal. Derek Anderson went with the No. 2 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and was unproductive on two series. He did throw a nice fade to Wilson.
• Anderson led the first-team offense vs. the first-team defense in red zone and
two-minute drills. Steve Heiden dropped a would-be touchdown with linebacker D’Qwell Jackson bearing down.
• Frye was given two shots in the red zone with the second team, the second resulting in a touchdown to receiver Kendrick Mosley. He also managed to set up a 50-yard field goal in the two-minute drill.
• Kellen Winslow dropped a good throw from Anderson down the seam.
• Fullback Lawrence Vickers limped off the field after a carry up the middle. The trainer looked at his left knee, and he didn’t return.
Backup running back Jason Wright and backup guard Isaac Sowells missed their second straight day of practice with concussions. Crennel said he didn’t know the severity of the concussions or when the players might return to practice. Wright was riding the stationary bike in the evening wearing sunglasses.
“When they can pass their baseline tests, then the medical people will put them back out there,” he said.
Crennel said both took shots to the head during practice Wednesday.
The Browns were originally scheduled to practice at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Friday night for Family Night, but it was canceled because of the water damage during the Kenny Chesney concert. Instead, they held two-a-days at team headquarters.
• Army Sgt. Rich Zurga of Eastlake presented Crennel with American and Browns flags that flew together for a week last year during his second tour in Iraq. Crennel gave Zurga, a reservist, a jersey.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7136