With one offensive lineman already out the first four games following getting suspended, the Browns sure would love to have center LeCharles Bentley back and ready to go for the 2007 season. But is it close to happening? If you ask Bentley, he’ll tell you that right now he is about 70 percent, and hopes to join the team for practice by the end of August, and still wants to give it a go in 2007. He was on the practice field on Sunday, but only watching at the Browns training camp in Berea, Ohio. Right now it’s just a matter of Bentley trying to get back after the toughest year of his life with a left patella tendon tear.
The injury took place last year on the first play of training camp, and it got so bad at one point doctors actually spoke about amputating his leg after it was found out he had a staph infection. So being on the field even watching practice is a downright miracle for the 27-year-old Cleveland native. “My day is pretty simple,” Bentley said. “I come in, go to meetings, sometimes I get treatment, a little bit, if I need it. I eat with the guys, hang out a little bit, leave, go work out, come back, go to some more meetings.” Being out there even with his teammates has got to give the Browns a lift. What would be even better would be the former Saint putting a nose tackle on his behind as he opens a hole for running back Jamal Lewis.
How fast will the Browns allow Bentley jump back into it? That’s been an area of great debate for awhile within the Browns organization. Some seem to think they want nothing to do with Bentley, and want to simply move on without him. Other think that Bentley can be a big part of a Browns offensive line that will miss Ryan Tucker for the first four games with violating the leagues steroid policy. “He wants to be a Brown, so were glad to have him around,” coach Romeo Crennel said. What that means for his return to the field is anyone’s guess. For now, he’s just happy to be out there, trying to get back to the field playing for the team he grew up rooting for.