Great Comeback Story: LeCharles Bentley Cleared to Practice! (2 Viewers)

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HD MM

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A heartwarming sport's comeback story by Plain Dealer Columnist Bill Livingston....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Bill Livingston
Plain Dealer Columnist


As a boy, LeCharles Bentley watched his hometown team win and lose epic games in a stadium that, like the team itself, would soon be gone.

He wasn't quite 10 when his favorite player, tailback Eric Metcalf, hopscotched through the Bengals' defense near their goal line on a Monday night, showing the nation moves it had not seen even from his father, ex-NFL star Terry Metcalf.

As a teenager, Bentley cheered as Metcalf ran back two punts for touchdowns in a game in 1993, leaving Steelers clutching and gasping in his wake.

Maybe Bentley still has a future with the Browns.

Maybe he has only his memories of when wearing the "orange hat" on the field in Cleveland was as good as it gets.

He took his team physical Monday, although the results were not disclosed.

Bentley has been working out with his own personal trainer in Arizona, which reflects the strained relationship between the offensive lineman and the Browns. He has spent the past two seasons unable to play. He tore his left patellar tendon on the first play of his first day at training camp on 2006, then battled complications from the surgery to fix it.

He has his signing bonus and his paychecks, amounting to $16 million in all from the Browns. He also has a shortened contract, which allows him to become a free agent after this season.

He has told friends he is ready to play. A center, he can also play guard. If healthy, he would not be a spare part so much as needed depth. Even if he plays, his season might amount to an audition for free-agent suitors. Many teams would love to have a former Pro Bowler who is adept at two positions.

The medical soap opera with Bentley involves two of Cleveland's most powerful institutions. The Browns and Cleveland Clinic are on one side, and on the other is a popular local player, the nation's top center when he was at Ohio State, a Pro Bowler in New Orleans, a man who came home to complete what is almost a holy trinity of Ohio football at St. Ignatius, OSU and the Browns.

Clearly, the Browns and their caregivers have tried hard to curb the staph infections that have stricken six Browns players in recent years. They want the players back, healthy, as soon as possible. Moreover, Bentley is still on the roster in part because his signing as a free agent was so popular with the fan base.

At the same time, any patient has the right to a second opinion, or in his case, a second surgical option. His fourth and final operation was done by a New York Giants doctor.

If healthy, Bentley would have to mesh with the current offensive line. Bolstered by the imposing talent of Joe Thomas, the line finally possesses the elusive ingredient called chemistry. It cannot be summoned at will, but must be built on repetitions, interdependence and trust. The Browns teams Bentley loved were greater than the sum of their parts precisely because of such chemistry.

Perhaps this will end in the old, cold mantra that football is a business. But it also is about the covenant among the Browns, their fans, and their hometown players.

Bentley's goal is to play in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys. It wouldn't be like Metcalf ducking peril 15 years ago. What is? But it would be close enough.


*Update:10:05AM: Phil Savage (Browns GM) told the media today that LeCharles Bentley will be practicing with the team starting today. Bentley passed both his physical and the standard run test that the administered by the team.
 
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HD MM

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I remember the day the Brown's signed Bentley like it was yesterday (after the '05 season). At the press conference he wore a dress shirt, tie, jacket, shook GM Phil Savage's hand....... then ripped off his jacket to reveal a Browns jersey on underneath! He was absolutely glowing! A guy that proud to be in Cleveland (his hometown) and play for a team that was (at the time) a non-contender! The fan's were equally pumped.

Then, can you imagine a similar situation....

Being a football player, signed by your lifelong favorite team, then on the first snap of practice suffer a major injury!? Then have to go through 2+ years of rehab, multiple staph infections, and possibility of never playing out that dream or worse: loosing your leg to amputation!

If he makes it to the field this year, it will be a quite emotional accomplishment.
 

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GoTribe

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And today, he asks for his release because he doesn't want to "be an insurance policy."

Yeah, way to bleed orange and brown there pal. :mad:

And good luck with starting for someone this year. I'm sure NFL teams are busting down his door to sign a guy that hasn't set foot on a football field since 2005.

If he gets his wish, I'm betting he will be on a team whose quarterback will take a beating.
 

Jimbo

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And today, he asks for his release because he doesn't want to "be an insurance policy."

Yeah, way to bleed orange and brown there pal. :mad:

And good luck with starting for someone this year. I'm sure NFL teams are busting down his door to sign a guy that hasn't set foot on a football field since 2005.

If he gets his wish, I'm betting he will be on a team whose quarterback will take a beating.

I'll give you TWO teams that would LOVE to have him, and BETTER be looking at him.

The Steelers and the LIONS, both can use a good Center/ Guard

Jimbo
 

Jimbo

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And today, he asks for his release because he doesn't want to "be an insurance policy."

Yeah, way to bleed orange and brown there pal. :mad:

And good luck with starting for someone this year. I'm sure NFL teams are busting down his door to sign a guy that hasn't set foot on a football field since 2005.

If he gets his wish, I'm betting he will be on a team whose quarterback will take a beating.

I can't say I blame him, when he signed, he signed as a starter on the line and now a back up for a guy that is capable of being a starter , things are drastically different now vs when he signed, both sides are happy with the release..... Browns are set with thier O line now.

He will be moving on to a team that needs a starter on the line.

ESPN - Day after returning to practice, Bentley released - NFL

Jimbo
 
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GoTribe

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You can never have too much line help.
If he loved Cleveland as much as advertised, you'd think he would have stuck around and proved he could play again and then sought to move on elsewhere.

There's also the point that Bentley asked for and was granted his release so effortlessly. Teams don't just immediately release good, healthy players just because they ask for it.

He seems like a nice, well-spoken man. I just don't understand how he or his agent believes some team is going to hand him a starting job.

I believe there's a lot more to this story that we will never know.
 

Sparkman

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I talked to my son today, he's interning for the Browns this summer in Media Relations. His take on this was that everything was pretty much as reported. I think the Browns would have loved to have him, but he wants an opportunity to compete for a starting job somewhere.
 

HD MM

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You can never have too much line help.
If he loved Cleveland as much as advertised, you'd think he would have stuck around and proved he could play again and then sought to move on elsewhere.

There's also the point that Bentley asked for and was granted his release so effortlessly. Teams don't just immediately release good, healthy players just because they ask for it.

He seems like a nice, well-spoken man. I just don't understand how he or his agent believes some team is going to hand him a starting job.

I believe there's a lot more to this story that we will never know.

You nailed it right on the head GoTribe.

I was at a golf outing all afternoon yesterday, came home, ordered pizza, watched the Tribe and went to sleep. It wasn't until this morning that I heard of the news. I've been catching up on all the details ever since.......

Needless to say, there is MUCH more to the story that is being told. The story just doesn't add up. Injured on first snap of practice 2 years ago. Paid $15 million contract in those two years while rehabbing. Finally gets cleared to return and on 2nd day back wants to resign!? Those are not the actions of a man who wanted to come back to his hometown to play and work so hard to show everyone that he could.

The fan's got screwed on this one. LCB didn't just decide this yesterday. We've been supporting his return for 2 years. This is BS! :mad:
 

HD MM

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I talked to my son today, he's interning for the Browns this summer in Media Relations. His take on this was that everything was pretty much as reported. I think the Browns would have loved to have him, but he wants an opportunity to compete for a starting job somewhere.

This wasn't about competing for a starting spot. If he thinks anyone in their right mind would "guarantee" a starting spot for him after all those knee surgeries and after almost losing his leg due to a series of staph infections, then he's out of his mind! He's never even played a single down for the Browns. Why would he expect the spot to just be handed to him?

Anyways, that's not the reason. LCB was on several local sport's talk programs yesterday and below is an exact quote:

"It wasn't about competing for a spot. I know i have to compete. If I went to another team I would definitely have to compete, so why wouldn't I want to do it in my hometown? There were some problems with the Front Office that will probably never be addressed and now they don't need to be. Something was just not right." -LCB (6/12/2008)
 

MacDawg

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This wasn't about competing for a starting spot. If he thinks anyone in their right mind would "guarantee" a starting spot for him after all those knee surgeries and after almost losing his leg due to a series of staph infections, then he's out of his mind! He's never even played a single down for the Browns. Why would he expect the spot to just be handed to him?

Anyways, that's not the reason. LCB was on several local sport's talk programs yesterday and below is an exact quote:

"It wasn't about competing for a spot. I know i have to compete. If I went to another team I would definitely have to compete, so why wouldn't I want to do it in my hometown? There were some problems with the Front Office that will probably never be addressed and now they don't need to be. Something was just not right." -LCB (6/12/2008)

Some real shady stuff going on here in the C-Town. Something aint right. It will come out soon.
 

HD MM

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According to The Plain Dealer, the Browns renegotiated Bentley's contract this year to $605,000, which is the league minimum. Bentley got paid between $15-$16 million for the two previous years that he was injured and never played a down. It's possible that LCB was pissed about the pay cut and the owner was pissed about not getting anything in return for his $16 million investment.

On another note, Browns beat reporter, Andre Knott reported that Bentley doesn't have a drivers license. So, on the day Bentley got released, his Mom picked him up! So the brat who didn't get what he wanted took his ball and went home and had his Mommy come get him! :D
 

MacDawg

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According to The Plain Dealer, the Browns renegotiated Bentley's contract this year to $605,000, which is the league minimum. Bentley got paid between $15-$16 million for the two previous years that he was injured and never played a down. It's possible that LCB was pissed about the pay cut and the owner was pissed about not getting anything in return for his $16 million investment.

On another note, Browns beat reporter, Andre Knott reported that Bentley doesn't have a drivers license. So, on the day Bentley got released, his Mom picked him up! So the brat who didn't get what he wanted took his ball and went home and had his Mommy come get him! :D

LCB has some nerve. I was pulling for him too. Please somebody give me 16Mil and let me sit on my azz for two years! I would gladly play 3rd string for 650,000!
Cmon LCB be real.
 

Jimbo

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According to The Plain Dealer, the Browns renegotiated Bentley's contract this year to $605,000, which is the league minimum. Bentley got paid between $15-$16 million for the two previous years that he was injured and never played a down. It's possible that LCB was pissed about the pay cut and the owner was pissed about not getting anything in return for his $16 million investment.

This happens all the time.
 

Jimbo

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Yeah well, apparently LeChuck just doesn't get it.

$16 million to rehab in sunny Arizona for 2 years.

$600,000 to actually play football for 1 year.

These players today seem to want their cake and eat it too.

You seem to think that this is the only person that gets paid well to go thru rehab ...
Why, it baffles me, take a look at the daily injury report and you will see plenty of players getting payed very well to rehab.

Jimbo
 

HD MM

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You seem to think that this is the only person that gets paid well to go thru rehab ...
Why, it baffles me, take a look at the daily injury report and you will see plenty of players getting payed very well to rehab.

Jimbo

Jimbo, I'm not debating the fact that LCB and others get paid well during injury at all. I'm simply saying that he owed it to the Browns to play out his contract when he finally did get healthy.
 

Jimbo

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Jimbo, I'm not debating the fact that LCB and others get paid well during injury at all. I'm simply saying that he owed it to the Browns to play out his contract when he finally did get healthy.

Sounds to me like the Browns didn't want him and he didn't want them.
They weren't willing to let him compete for a starting position, you gotta at least let him compete for a spot, you may as well have told him that he was going to be on the Practice Squad ....
 

GoTribe

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Sounds to me like the Browns didn't want him and he didn't want them.
They weren't willing to let him compete for a starting position, you gotta at least let him compete for a spot, you may as well have told him that he was going to be on the Practice Squad ....

WTF? :confused:

How the hell do you know they weren't willing to let him compete for a starting position?

HE'S the one who asked for his release. Seems to me that he wasn't willing to let himself compete for the starting position.

As for your earlier comments about this "happening all the time," please show me an example of someone who made $16 million and didn't play once in two years?
 
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