BEREA — Linebacker Andra Davis received a plethora of praise from his teammates for his performance Sunday in the 8-0 win over Buffalo.
Davis has been with the Browns since 2002 and was voted a captain by teammates. When he exploded for seven tackles, including four for losses, two quarterback pressures and a pass breakup, the rest of the team couldn’t talk about him quickly enough.
“’Dra had a tremendous game,” fellow inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said Sunday. “I know how hard he works and how dedicated he is to football and his family. I’m more happy for him than I am for myself.”
“(No.) 54 cut loose and did he ever cut loose,” receiver Braylon Edwards said. “I was happy to see Andra back in his old mode.”
Davis is second on the team with 96 tackles (Jackson has 98), but he’s had a quiet year. He lost his spot in the nickel package to Leon Williams and had just five tackles for loss and two pressures before Sunday.
“He was able to make some tackles in the backfield and when you’re playing that field-position game, if you can make a tackle in the backfield, now that puts the opponents behind in the yardage count,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “Andra has been a solid guy for us. He’s been a team guy. He’ll do whatever the team needs for him to do. He’s enthusiastic about it.
“In talking with Andra, he’s just glad that we’re winning. He’s been around here for his entire career and it hasn’t been so good. He’s enjoying where we are right now.”
New Bentley deal
The Browns and center LeCharles Bentley have agreed to a one-year contract for 2008 that replaces the six-year, $36 million deal he signed as a free agent in 2006.
Profootballtalk.com reported the deal Sunday, and a team source confirmed the restructuring Monday. The source said the deal was reached in the fall.
According to profootballtalk.com, under the new contract Bentley is slated to earn a base salary of $605,000 in 2008. He could reach three $1 million incentives if he plays enough.
The move reduces the team’s financial risk, and in return the Browns agreed to let Bentley become a free agent after the season.
The deal also removes the contract from the team’s salary cap by the end of 2008. Bentley has missed two years after tearing his patellar tendon in training camp in July 2006. A staph infection invaded the knee, and he has yet to play a snap for his hometown team.
Dave Zastudil fell flat on his back on a punt Sunday, sending it 7 yards. But Crennel complimented him for his day as a whole.
“Dave did a good job because he’s the holder on all of those kicks and he did a consistent job of handling the ball and getting it down for Phil (Dawson),” Crennel said. “And a lot of time he is in position (to punt) and that ball gets snapped and that wind moves the ball on him. That was a really good job on his part as well.”
Zastudil held on two successful field goals by Dawson and averaged 33.1 yards on seven punts. He landed three inside the 20-yard line.
Crennel praised the fans for braving the elements, which included heavy snow and
“They were really into it because with those temperatures and the weather the way it was, a lot of people would have stayed home and watched it on television,” he said. “But there was a great turnout and they stayed for the whole game. We are really appreciative of that support.”
Would Crennel have been able to tough it out in the stands?
“If I’m a dedicated fan, I could sit there and get it done,” he said.
Hope on the bus
The Bills had to take a bus home Monday after their plane got stuck in the mud when it went off the taxiway heading to the gate to pick them up. The pilot took too wide a turn from one taxiway to another at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the front wheel of the plane got stuck, airport spokesman Pat Smith said.
“It wasn’t snowing at the time. We don’t know why he did this,” Smith told the Associated Press.
The Bills took a five-bus caravan back to Buffalo at 9:30 a.m.
Crennel gave game balls to Dawson, running back Jamal Lewis (163 yards), the offensive line (including tight end Steve Heiden) and the entire defense for its shutout.
• Crennel said the Browns suffered no major injuries. Outside linebacker Antwan Peek (ankle) didn’t play, but Crennel said he would try to practice this week.
• Quarterback Derek Anderson played without sleeves and spent much of his time on the sidelines wearing a big, brown glove that looked like an oven mitt.
• NFL Network will replay a condensed version of the game tonight at 10:30 p.m.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.