- Associated Press - Thursday, November 18, 2010

BEREA, OHIO (AP) - No wonder Colt McCoy doesn’t fear blitzing NFL defensive ends, and appears to be a lot tougher than he looks.

He takes after his rugged grandfather.

Cleveland’s rookie quarterback, off to an impressive start in his brief pro career, said Thursday that his 78-year-old grandfather, Burl McCoy, is home recovering from a broken sternum, ribs and facial cuts suffered when his tractor flipped over last week while he was working on the family farm in Brownwood, Texas.

The elder McCoy was transporting a gate when the tractor overturned, throwing him off the vehicle and under it. Despite his serious injuries, Burl McCoy got up, managed to turn off the tractor and walked back to his house before calling for emergency help.

He was discharged on Wednesday.

“He’s a tough ol’ man,” McCoy said, shaking his head as he dressed for practice. “He’s going to be fine. I talked to him and he said he’s cool. ‘Don’t worry about me, just do what you do.’”

For McCoy, that meant preparing for his fifth straight start as the Browns (3-6) begin a stretch of four road games in five weeks with a visit to Jacksonville (5-4). In going 2-2 in four games since taking over as Cleveland’s starter, McCoy has earned his teammates’ respect and sparked a feeling around the city as well as in the locker room that he could be the Browns’ quarterback of the future.

McCoy has answered questions about his size, arm strength and accuracy in games against Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England and the New York Jets. The 24-year-old has shown mobility, patience, courage and determination. He’s taken command of the huddle, spent extra time in the film room and quickly embraced a leadership role, something he has done at every level.

McCoy’s maturity has impressed, and to a degree, surprised the Browns’ coaches, who weren’t sure how he would respond when he was thrown into his first start on the road against the Steelers.

In the final two minutes last week against the Jets, McCoy calmly looked in the eyes of Cleveland’s offensive players and told them they would score and tie the game. The Browns did just that before losing in overtime.

He’s a natural leader.

Coach Eric Mangini has been dazzled by McCoy’s consistency and resolve.

“Mentally, there’s been a lot of pressure that could have been put on him from who he’s faced so far and being such a young guy in that role,” he said. “You wouldn’t really know that anything has changed in terms of his personality in the building, the meetings and it’s been consistent.

“He may get angry about missing something that he thinks he should’ve gotten, but it’s not flustered. It’s more like, ‘I should’ve had that,’ or ‘I recognize that. I should’ve gotten that.’ He’s very under control throughout the course of the game. It’s not too high or too low, it’s just steady.”

Working on the farm in Texas, McCoy learned the value of hard work and focus. Playing for his father, Brad, in high school, he was taught to lead by example.

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