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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Wright receives 2nd-round tender

By Marla Published: March 4, 2011

Cornerback Eric Wright received a restricted free agent second-round tender offer from the Browns Thursday, a league source confirmed.

The four-year veteran suffered a knee injury Nov. 21 at Jacksonville and sat out the next week against Carolina. Rookie Joe Haden, the Browns' first-round pick, started in his place against the Panthers and remained in the lineup.

Wright also had a rough afternoon on Sept. 26 at Baltimore, when he gave up touchdown passes of 8, 12 and 27 yards to receiver Anquan Boldin. A three-tine Pro Bowler, Boldin caught eight passes for 142 yards.

"I didn't feel like myself at all and I didn't play like myself," Wright said after that game. "(Boldin is) a good player, but I don't think it's anything that he did that I wasn't expecting, or anything special that he did. He's obviously a good player, but I just didn't play up to my ability, not even close.''

Last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, Browns general manager Tom Heckert expressed faith in Wright, a second-round pick in 2007.

Asked if he wanted Wright back and what happened to him last year, Heckert said, "I don't know. I really don't. I think Eric's a good football player. I really do. Would we take him? Yeah, probably. Yeah. I can't answer much more than that 'cause I don't know the answer.''

Haden finished with six interceptions, tied for fifth in the NFL, and was a finalist for the NFL defensive rookie of the year. Sheldon Brown, a nine-year veteran acquired in an April, 2010 trade with Philadelphia, started 16 games at the other cornerback spot.

There has been speculation that Brown could move to safety, perhaps taking over Abram Elam's spot, but Heckert didn't make that seem imminent last week.'

"Not in the near-future, no,'' Heckert said of Brown. "We really haven’t talked about it. I think that’s something he could do, but right now he’s going to stay at corner.''

The Browns may have a chance to draft LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson with the sixth overall pick in the first round. Asked about the Browns' cornerbacks at the combine, Heckert said, ''I think we've got two really good ones, and the third one, we'll see.

"We have a couple guys that we like on our team, but is that a position that we would look at? Yeah. There's obviously the quarterback, the corners, the defensive linemen, the offensive linemen — you're not going to say, `Well, we have these guys.´ If there's a really good one, you're not gonna pass on him. So I think corner is just as good a possbility as anything.''

Wright has been a starter since he arrived in Cleveland, getting the nod in 55 of his 59 games played. He's also been active in the community, mentoring several Glenville High School football players last season. He planned  to start a mentoring program in his hometown of San Francisco and in Los Angeles this off-season.

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