The Cleveland Browns caught one of the cruelest breaks in the teams history last season when free agent center LeCharles Bentley went down on the first day on the first play of training camp with a left knee injury that has put his career in doubt. The injury was not only one that kept him out the entire season, but a month after surgery to repair the tear in his patella tendon, the center suffered a staph infection, causing further delay in a possible comeback.
Now finally some good news, as it was stated yesterday at Browns headquarters in Berea that Bentley will not have a second surgery on the knee, and that there is a chance he could come back and play in 2007. Browns GM Phil Savage called the news “a positive sign,” and said that an update on Bentley would be coming once the team starts training camp next month. Reports do say that as of right now, Bentley is not in the Browns plans for 2007 or beyond.
Possibly the most interesting thing about the current state of Bentley and the Browns is that the former Saints center is doing his rehab outside the watch of the Browns in Arizona. Savage even went so far to say that he has not spoken to Bentley since March. Bentley also has not been around for any of the teams off season training programs, and when Savage was asked if Bentley had a playbook, he responded with “I can’t answer that.”
The prospect of Bentley playing and being a contributing member of the Cleveland Browns in 2007 seems unlikely. He is going to cost them $3.4 million on the salary cap this season. If Bentley cannot make it all the way back this season, there is no doubt the Browns are going to have to watch the situation closely and see if it’s even worth bringing him back in 2008. For the sake of the Browns, it may be the right thing to let the past be, and move on without Bentley if he cannot make it back in 2007.