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Browns’ big man back
Question of the Day
BEREA, OHIO (AP) - Veering to the middle of Cleveland’s locker room, which was buzzing as players dressed for practice, nose tackle Shaun Rogers leaned most of his humongous frame on an industrial fan serving as his temporary podium.
Impressive fan. Imposing man.
Arguably Cleveland’s best player and easily it’s most dominant, Rogers, the Browns’ bigger-than-big man returned to practice this week after sitting out training camp with a leg injury that cost him the final five games last season. He’s not in game shape yet, but he’s getting there.
In case they had forgotten what a disruptive force Rogers can be to an offense, the 6-foot-3, 350-and-then-some pounder, spent Wednesday’s practice tossing Cleveland’s linemen around like they were stuffed animals. With Rogers clogging the middle, tying up two blockers at a time, the Browns’ first-team offense barely budged the ball.
Evading Mount Rogers ain’t easy.
“He was excited. That’s the big guy,” defensive end Robaire Smith said. “It was great to see him out there. It’s too bad he had to throw some of our teammates around before the game.”
Before agreeing to speak with reporters Thursday, Rogers had not formally addressed the media in nearly one year. He broke his left leg in a Nov. 29 game at Cincinnati and had surgery, although the team has not commented on the operation of severity of his injury.
Not fully recovered, Rogers was sidelined all summer, relegated to riding a stationary bike as the Browns prepped for the season. On Wednesday, the team practiced inside their field house, which was balmier than usual. Coach Eric Mangini turned up the thermostat to simulate Central Florida’s swampy conditions that the Browns will likely encounter on Sunday in Tampa Bay.
Rogers felt the heat.
“Sucking wind,” he said.
After backup Ahtyba Rubin played so well while filling in for Rogers late last season, the Browns have kicked around playing them together, with Rubin at nose tackle and Rogers shifted to end in Cleveland’s 3-4 scheme. Rogers took all his snaps at nose tackle on Wednesday, but said he’s open to moving outside.
“I’ll do whatever they ask of me,” Rogers said. “It’s still a process that we’re going through to try and get the best me out there. So, whatever I’m allowed to do (because of the injury) and whatever they think is best, is what we’re going to do. If that’s what they ask me to do.
“It’s D-line. As long as they don’t ask me to play wideout, we’ll be all right.”
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