October 25, 2014

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Browns notes: Cleveland East grad Sanders grateful to be back in NFL

 
BEREA — Wide receiver Steve Sanders may not have a long NFL career, but he’s making the most of his time with the Browns.
Sanders brought the football team from his alma mater, Cleveland East High, to watch his current squad practice on Tuesday morning.
The second-year pro also gave each member of the Blue Bombers their own Browns-issued cleats, gloves and souvenir bag.
“I wanted to tell them to keep working hard and keep God in your life, and you can’t go wrong,” said Sanders, who grew up under less than ideal circumstances in the inner city. “I’m living proof that you can overcome.”
Sanders, who graduated from East in 2001, was an All-Ohio football player and hurdler at the school. He also was an all-league point guard in basketball.
The articulate 6-foot-3, 201-pounder continued his football career at Bowling Green, then realized part of his NFL dream when the Browns signed him as an undrafted rookie last spring.
Sanders spent one week on Cleveland’s practice squad in 2006 before being shipped to NFL Europa’s Berlin Thunder, where he had 14 receptions in 10 games.
“He was with us last year and showed some flash, but we weren’t able to keep him,” Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. “Then he goes over to Europe and develops, and makes some plays and now is back with us.”
Sanders is listed as a third-string receiver on the club’s depth chart, but has an opportunity to vault past the ever-struggling Travis Wilson and make the team.
Through two preseason games, Sanders is tied for third among Cleveland’s wide receivers in catches with three.
“You can see his improvement from this year compared to last year’s (camp),” Crennel said. “I think with his size and the way he goes about it, he might have a chance.”

Here and there

The Browns will see some friendly faces Saturday when they visit the Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High (9 p.m., WKYC-TV 3). Denver’s roster includes former Cleveland players Kenard Lang, Quincy Morgan, Amon Gordon, Warrick Holdman, Alvin McKinley, Ebenezer Ekuban and Chad Mustard.
General manager Phil Savage, wide receiver Joshua Cribbs, running back Jerome Harrison, linebacker Leon Williams and safety Justin Hamilton stayed after practice to talk to the East football team.
 Linebacker Willie McGinest rejoined his teammates late Monday after having his ailing back examined in California. No update was available on his status.

No rest

Running back Jamal Lewis has been aggressive and effective in the preseason, rushing 11 times for a team-high 48 yards while making three receptions. Despite his history of ankle and knee problems, don’t expect Lewis’ workload to decrease in the final two exhibition games.
“Let’s say you don’t get him any reps now, and against Pittsburgh you want to give him the whole thing,” Crennel said. “His tongue would hang out, so then you would be saying the coach didn’t get them ready. The coach has to try and get them ready to play a full game. In order to do that, you have to play them.”

Second careers

Former Browns players Herman Arvie, Reggie Langhorne, Frank Stams, Ron Bolton, Ricky Feacher, Mike Pagel and Eric Metcalf have served as coaching interns in training camp. Kevin Mack worked in the same capacity for Cleveland last year and was hired by the franchise as its assistant director of player programs. Mack’s current boss is another one-time NFL standout, Jerry Butler.

To do list

The Browns’ offense wasted two timeouts and was whistled for a delay of game Saturday in their 23-20 home loss to Detroit. In order to avoid a repeat performance, they have spent extended time practicing similar situations in the last two days.
“It has to do with our execution, and we’ve been working on it,” Crennel said. “The proof will be in the pudding this week to see if we can execute it."

Airwaves

Popular announcer Jim Donovan will call the Browns/Broncos preseason game Saturday in Denver, then fly to Kansas City to broadcast the Indians/Royals contest Sunday. All of the action will be shown on WKYC-TV 3.
Former Browns wide receiver Dave Logan is the Broncos’ play-by-play voice on KOA-AM 850.
Bob Holtzman of ESPN was in town to report on Brady Quinn.

Extra points

The Broncos have a 20-5 all-time record against the Browns (1-0 preseason, 16-5 regular season, 3-0 playoffs), their best mark against any opponent. Cleveland’s last win in the series came on Oct. 8, 1990 in a “Monday Night Football” matchup that marked the final NFL win for Browns coach Bud Carson.
  A limited number of tickets are available for Cleveland’s home games against Baltimore, Miami, Seattle, Houston, Buffalo and San Francisco. Call the Browns’ ticket office at 440-891-5050 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Contact Brian Dulik at sports@ohio.net.