BEREA: The playoff beard is a well-known phenomenon in the world of sports, but Jake Anderson recently introduced the Browns to the minicamp beard.
An offensive lineman from the University of Akron who signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent, Anderson was one of the lesser-known players who participated in rookie minicamp this weekend. Still, his long, scruffy facial hair made him stick out.
“I’m keeping the beard going until they tell me to go home,” Anderson said Sunday as the three-day minicamp came to an end. “Then I’ll probably shave it if I have to get a job. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen.”
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Anderson talked to offensive line coach George Warhop for about five minutes after the final practice of minicamp and left the field with optimism. He practiced at left tackle this weekend, but Warhop told him not to be surprised if he is moved to guard.
Anderson’s journey with the Browns will continue today, when the rookies join the veterans in the team’s offseason workout program. The first set of organized team activities, otherwise known as OTAs, begins May 22. Full-squad minicamp starts June 5, and training camp usually kicks off toward the end of July.
Mike and Lori Anderson are planning to watch their son compete during training camp. Mike is an engineer for General Electric and Lori is a preschool aide.
“They said their vacation is going to be in Berea,” Jake Anderson said.
Neither Anderson nor his family is taking the NFL experience for granted.
“It’s pretty surreal just walking in the locker room,” Anderson said. “The veterans weren’t allowed to be around this weekend because of the new [collective bargaining agreement]. But just seeing their lockers up there, it kind of hits you a little bit.”
Of course, those feelings will probably fade as Anderson grows accustomed to his new surroundings.
If all goes well, his mountain-man look will last much longer.
Although rookie Brandon Weeden has met Seneca Wallace, he has yet to talk to Colt McCoy. All three quarterbacks should be together for the first time today, when the 2012 rookie class is integrated with the veterans in the offseason conditioning program.
Weeden was asked whether he feels like the competition for the starting quarterback job will begin today.
“Well, I mean, yeah, but I kind of thought that way coming in on Thursday [when rookies reported to Berea the day before minicamp started],” Weeden said. “Obviously, we’re all here. We’re gonna help each other. We’re human beings, and I think that’s one thing that gets misinterpreted. We’re gonna go out and help each other and get better. That’s really what it comes down to.
“I’m gonna be asking questions to those guys. They’ve been doing it for a couple years, Seneca for 10. Absolutely, I think we’re just gonna compete. Nothing will change. I know Colt’s a good guy. I know Seneca’s a good guy. I met Seneca, so I’m looking forward to just being part of the other quarterbacks.”
Browns coach Pat Shurmur liked what he saw from Weeden during minicamp.
“I think he generally operated well,” Shurmur said. “Other than a couple of plays, we did almost everything under center, and I think he handled that extremely well. He’s very accurate, he throws a good ball and we can see that he’s got a chance to be a very good player.”
Shurmur said he expects fourth-round pick Travis Benjamin to challenge for a significant role in the receiving corps this year. He also said fourth-round pick James-Michael Johnson proved he’s a quick study by functioning well at all three linebacker spots.
Defensive tackle John Hughes, a third-round pick, had an ice pack wrapped onto the back of his right leg about one hour into practice. He might have tweaked a hamstring, but he never left the field and participated in a walk-through near the end of the session. … Weeden completed several touchdown passes during 7-on-7 sessions in the red zone, but two of his throws were intercepted. Defensive back David Sims cut in front of receiver Josh Cooper, an undrafted rookie who played with Weeden at Oklahoma State, and picked off a pass in the front corner of the end zone. Later, a pass went off Cooper’s hands, and defensive back Antwuan Reed intercepted it.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.