|Finally in, Brady Quinn set to jump into Browns' quarterback competition|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 08 August 2007 06:57|
Even so, it was every bit as agonizing as draft day.
Hours after the quarterback ended his 11-day training camp holdout by signing a five-year, $20.2 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, Quinn said he understands that nothing - not a starting job or support from teammates or fans - will be handed to him.
``Believe me, I don't deserve anything,'' he said Wednesday. ``I think I have to earn a lot with the coaching staff but also with the team. But that's just something that you have to understand coming into it, especially as a rookie.
``You have to earn everything that you get.''
Quinn, though, is confident he'll be starting at some point during his first season as a pro.
``Without a doubt,'' he said.
Quinn, who squirmed in his backstage seat at New York's Radio City Music Hall for hours waiting to be drafted in April before finally being picked by the Browns at No. 22, expressed frustration at not being in camp while negotiations between the team and his agent, Tom Condon, crawled along.
The sides first began talks in May, but didn't make any significant progress until last weekend.
Quinn worked out in Arizona while the sides haggled over guaranteed money and salary escalators in the final years of the incentive-filled package. He can earn a maximum of $30 million if he becomes the franchise QB the Browns have longed for.
Quinn's first foray into the NFL's business side wasn't a pleasant experience for the 22-year-old.
``It's awful,'' he said. ``You grow up loving the game that you've played and all of a sudden you're told you can't come in unless you sign a contract. To sit out from playing the game that you love for that long is horrible.
``It's nice just to be an official member of the Browns.''
Quinn missed the team's four-day rookie orientation program and then 16 practices before finally getting a call from Condon, who told him to pack his bags and get on the next flight to Cleveland.
He arrived at the Browns' training facility Tuesday evening. After signing his contract, Quinn met with fellow QBs Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson, took a conditioning test, went over his playbook and then checked into a hotel for a few hours sleep.
Quinn was back at Browns headquarters early Wednesday and was scheduled to practice for the first time with his teammates in the afternoon. It will be a private affair as the team's workout was closed to fans and media members.
Quinn's first public appearance will be Thursday when every one of his passes will be compared to ones thrown by Frye and Anderson, neither of whom has separated from the other so far at camp.
A two-quarterback competition to be Cleveland's starter could become the three-way fight everyone expected.
Barring an injury to Frye or Anderson, it's unlikely the Browns will rush Quinn along. A more likely scenario would be for him to sit out the first few weeks of the season before starting or getting any significant snaps.
Quinn will begin at the bottom of the depth chart and will probably only get in for a few plays in Saturday's exhibition opener against Kansas City.
Arizona's Matt Leinart, also represented by Condon, missed most of the Cardinals' training camp last summer. However, he still took nearly 70 percent of the team's snaps and was starting by mid-season.
Quinn said he got advice from Leinart about his upcoming transition. He hasn't had to win a starting job since his freshman year at Notre Dame, but Quinn's looking at his chance to compete for one the same way he did as a wide-eyed 18-year-old with the Fighting Irish.
``I think a lot of times people get wrapped up in what other people are doing and not what they're doing - what they can improve on,'' he said. ``That's kind of the way that I handled myself back then and that's the way that I'll handle myself now.''
During his holdout, Quinn became an easy target for some Browns fans, who felt he should have reported for camp on time like rookie offensive tackle Joe Thomas, the No. 3 overall selection.
Quinn, too, was criticized for charging $75 for his autograph during an appearance at a local memorabilia show.
Quinn, though, feels fans will be forgiving of his holdout, and that the best way to win them over is by winning.
``I think they understand we're professional athletes,'' he said. ``We're very fortunate to have this opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I'm from the Columbus area, I know about Cleveland, I'm an Ohio kid, so I understand what this town's about.
``I want the same thing.''