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Player spotlight: Browns linebacker David Veikune

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 30, 2010

BROWNS LINEBACKER DAVID VEIKUNE

Height: 6-foot-2. Weight: 257 pounds.

College: Hawaii. Age: 24.

Experience: Second year in the NFL (selected by the Browns in the second round, 52nd overall, of the 2009 draft).

Fast fact: Veikune and his family have lived in Alaska, New Mexico and Hawaii. And of all places, Veikune's mother, Sheila, grew up in Canton. In fact, Veikune said he has three uncles and two aunts who still live in Northeast Ohio.

The latest: Veikune is considered by many observers to be on the proverbial bubble in terms of making the team. NFL teams must cut their 80-man rosters down to 75 players on Tuesday and 53 on Saturday. After playing defensive end in college, Veikune switched to linebacker and played 10 games in a reserve role last season, but he didn't record a single tackle. He has three tackles through three preseason games. He didn't really stand out during training camp, though, in part because he missed time with an undisclosed injury. On the other hand, Mangini said Veikune has improved. Mangini even compared Veikune's progression on defense to wide receiver Brian Robiskie's development on offense. Veikune's fate could become one of the most intriguing storylines surrounding the Browns' roster decisions. Will they give up on a second-round pick, or will they give him more time to prove himself?

What's Veikune saying?

On his comfort level during his second training camp: "When you know the playbook, I guess you're more fluent out there. You're not as stressed before you run out there and practice. That would take a lot of gas out of me. I would think too much. Now I can just go out there and play, and it's a lot more fluid out there."

On what he needs to do to earn a spot on the Browns' roster: "You've got to show them special-teams work and just that you can go out there and know what you're doing in every situation. You've got to show them I can play end, too, nickel and stuff like that. The more you can do it, I guess that's the thing in this league."

On what he emphasized during his offseason preparation: "Studying. Last year, there were so many plays, and I was trying to learn every single thing. That's what happened this offseason. I gotta just sit down, take it at my speed and just go over the plays in my head, go over the plays on paper."

On if he was overwhelmed during his rookie season: "I wouldn't say overwhelmed. But, yeah, it was definitely a challenge. I wasn't very football smart. I guess you could say I was book smart, but not football smart. I'm getting there, though. I'm getting better and better and smarter and smarter on the field. Linebacker, that's something totally different. I've never played that my whole life. A lot of guys make that transition. It can be a challenge, but I like the challenge."

On playing close to some of his relatives: "A lot of my family came to (our preseason game against the St. Louis Rams) to support me, so it's a great thing. Out of all the places, you know? I've never really been able to spend time with my mom's side of the family before."

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