With his duties as a consultant at the University of Florida, Charlie Frye doesn’t have time to keep up with the Browns’ continuing quarterback woes.
He knows things are not going well from updates from the Gators’ trainer.
“He’s a huge Browns fan ... he’s usually coming in pretty upset on Monday morning,” Frye said.
But the third-round draft choice in 2005, who joined the University of Akron’s football ring of honor Friday, has a theory on why the Browns have had 23 starting quarterbacks since 1999. He believes draft picks aren’t being given enough time to develop, especially since the approval of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011.
“With the way the CBA is written, it’s so hard to develop young guys right now,” he said on Black FryeDay at InfoCision Stadium, where UA defeated Kent State 20-0. “They cut OTAs, they cut the summer. Then everyone wants that microwave success. It doesn’t happen very often. You know it’s the hardest position to play in all of sports.”
Frye also said the Browns need to build around their quarterback, getting help “on defense, receivers, offense.”
Frye went 6-13 as a Browns starter before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks after a 34-7 season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. He played six years in the NFL, finishing his career with the Oakland Raiders in 2009. The tendon in his wrist on his throwing hand rolled to his elbow and 2010 surgery to reconnect it ended his career.
“When that audible’s called, we’ve got to able to respond and keep on trucking,” Frye said.
Frye, 34, had no intention of going into coaching because of the long hours required. He met his wife Lenette, who attended Nordonia High School and Bowling Green State University, in 2006 and they’ve been married for five years. They have two sons, Charlie Jr. “C.J.,” 4, and Cristian, 2.
Lenette and the boys were among a contingent of about 35, most from Frye’s hometown of Willard, that saw Frye’s name unveiled on the south end of the stadium opposite NFL standout defensive end Jason Taylor (2004). The ring of honor now stands at seven, with tight end Chris Angeloff (2003) the only other player.
Frye considered it symbolic since it was the same end where Sally used to hang banners for her son at the Rubber Bowl.
“Most of my memories in the game come from Akron. That’s what the game is all about, the relationships and affecting people in a positive way,” Frye said.
Frye was living in Orlando, Fla., working out and rehabbing his wrist when he got a call from former Browns defensive end Kenard Lang, the coach at Jones High School there. His Browns teammate in 2005 wanted Frye to help with the team’s quarterbacks.
“I said, ‘Sure,’?” Frye said. “Then it was, ‘Hey, you want to call the plays Friday?’?”
“I fell in love with affecting the kids, building and seeing them grow,” Frye said.
Frye spent two years at Jones, then went with Lang to Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla., where Lang remains. Frye taught physical education for a year and a half as he and Lang took Wekiva to the playoffs for the first time in school history.
Frye wanted more, so he started his own consulting business, Frye Football. This summer he met new University of Florida coach Jim McElwain, the former Colorado State coach and Alabama offensive coordinator. Frye left the Zips’ game at halftime to catch a flight back to Gainesville, Fla., where the Gators host Florida State Saturday night.
Frye helps with quarterbacks, especially their “mental conditioning,” along with player development work involving local charities. McElwain tweeted his congratulations to Frye along with the hashtag “IWantABobbleheadPlease.”
David Frye, wearing an old button of Frye in his Zips uniform, said Frye and McElwain share common philosophies on life.
“He’s a real humble guy, very simple, likes to be behind the scenes,” David Frye said of McElwain. “He and Charlie hit it off right off the bat.
“Charlie wasn’t on the staff two or three weeks and he said, ‘You know, Dad, I’m a consultant, but I’m in all the quarterback meetings, all the offensive coordinator meetings.’ I think he’d like to be around Mac for a while.”
Frye wonders if he’ll have to choose between his consulting business and a full-time coaching job, but knows which way he’s leaning.
“Every time I’ve made plans, they’ve always been blown up. I built a house in Avon, it gets done, I get traded. Whatever God has planned for me, I’m going after it,” Frye said.
“If an opportunity presented itself, [college coaching] is probably what I want to do. I said I wasn’t going to get in it, but it’s in my blood, I guess. Football is what I know.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read her blog at www.ohio.com/marla.