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News » Texas Tech star QB Harrell has tryout with Browns


Texas Tech star QB Harrell has tryout with Browns


Texas Tech star QB Harrell has tryout with Browns
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Former Texas Tech star quarterback Graham Harrell has a lot to prove in three days.


Harrell was invited to the Cleveland Browns rookie minicamp on a three-day tryout. He wasn't offered a contract, so nothing is guaranteed beyond Sunday.

He has to prove he isn't simply a product of Texas Tech's spread offense. He has to prove his arm is strong enough for the NFL. And he has to prove he can pick up the Browns' complex offense overnight.

"It's very exciting," Harrell said Friday between practices. "I'm just glad they gave me a shot."

Harrell wasn't taken last weekend in the seven rounds of the NFL Draft, despite owning the NCAA record with 134 career touchdown passes and holding the second spot with 15,793 career yards. As a senior, he threw 45 touchdown passes, completed 71 percent of his passes and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

He said a few NFL teams offered him tryouts but his agent recommended the Browns.

"I have to show that it's not just the system I played in college," he said. "That I can make throws, I can take snaps, I can take drops. And learn and mold into a system that they want to run here."

Harrell's size (6-foot-2, 223 pounds) and arm strength (average) were negatives in the draft process. So was the Red Raiders' spread offense, which created the gaudy statistics.

First-year Browns coach Eric Mangini said Harrell made a good first impression.

"He's picked up the information easily, and he throws a very accurate ball," Mangini said. "I thought he did a nice job, not just with his throws but being able to run the offense."

Harrell joined the Browns' seven draft picks, 14 free-agent signees and numerous tryouts. They had their first meeting Thursday night and first practice Friday morning.

It also was the first official practice with the Browns for Mangini, who was fired by the New York Jets on Dec. 29 after they failed to make the playoffs despite an 8-3 start.

"It's nice to be out doing some football," he said. "It seems like a long time since the season ended."

Mangini, who joined the Browns a week after the Jets dropped him, started his NFL career as a ball boy with the Browns and shares a history with second-round pick Brian Robiskie.

Robiskie, a receiver from Ohio State, was a ball boy for three years during high school while his father, Terry Robiskie, was an assistant coach with the Browns. Now, his locker with a No. 80 nameplate is next to that of star receiver Braylon Edwards.

Harrell didn't have a nameplate - a piece of paper sufficed - and had to share a locker with Brent Casteel, a free-agent receiver from Utah. But he did get a long-sleeved Browns T-shirt with his surname on the back.

The Browns' quarterback situation is far from settled, so Harrell has a chance to stick around, perhaps on the practice squad. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson will compete for the starting job in training camp, and Brett Ratliff was acquired from the Jets in a draft-day trade.

"Maybe I can just learn behind them," Harrell said. "Those guys have done some great things here and are some great players."

Harrell's college coach, Mike Leach, created a bit of a stir on draft day when Red Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree slipped to No. 10. Leach blamed Mangini for a Cleveland newspaper report that said the Browns had soured on Crabtree because of his "diva" attitude.

Harrell said he's talked to Leach since accepting the Browns' invitation but Leach didn't say anything about Mangini.

"Coach was good to me while I was there, and he has his strengths," Harrell said. "But coach Mangini gave me an opportunity, and he's been great, and the staff here's been great, so I appreciate them as well."

Mangini dismissed the notion he had a problem with Crabtree.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 2, 2009

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