Training camp for the Browns opens on July 27 in Berea. Players will not be in pads the first couple days per the rules of the CBA. But when they are in full gear and linemen start crashing into each other like a demolition derby cars in cleats, eyes will be on rookie defensive lineman Caleb Brantley.
The Browns took Brantley in the sixth round. He was projected to go in the second round. But teams were scared off when he was accused of punching a woman in the face in a Florida bar two weeks before the draft. The misdemeanor battery complaint was dismissed by the state attorney’s office in Gainesville, Fla., on May 17.
The stigma from the accusation will fade with time. That isn’t the reason Brantley will be watched closely. The question only Brantley can answer with his actions on the field is whether he really can play like a second-round pick.
“Caleb is a unique personality and unique player,” defensive line coach Clyde Simmons said bluntly at the end of minicamp last month. “He shows first-round talent at times, and then he shows somebody who shouldn’t be playing at other times, and my job is to get him playing at a consistent level, a consistent high level.”
Simmons has the right to be blunt. He played 15 seasons in the NFL with 186 starts in 236 games. He made the Pro Bowl twice with the Eagles and has 121.5 career sacks on his resume. So when Simmons sees somebody needs a butt-kicking, whether it’s Brantley or first overall pick Myles Garrett, players better listen.
“He’s like every young player that comes in this league,”…
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