Brady Quinn's going to be playing catch-up

Steve Doerschuk

From one former four-year starting college quarterback to another, Joshua Cribbs says Brady Quinn is forgiven.

“This is what I learned in my two years here. It’s a business — first,” the Browns kick returner said Tuesday after the rookie quarterback agreed to a five-year contract. “Because they can cut you, you can be gone. So he has to get his mon¬ey and be secure and come out here and lay it all on the line.”

Cribbs, Kent State’s signal-caller from 2001-04, predicted big things for Quinn, the man at Notre Dame from 2003-06.

Cribbs recalled Quinn’s much-publicized first day of Browns spring practice, when the No. 22 overall draft pick threw three interceptions.

“One day, he threw all those picks,” Cribbs said. “The next day (when writers weren’t invited), he came out taking what the defense gave him. That’s what it takes.”

Cribbs said the qualities that made Quinn a Round 1 pick were evident as the spring wore on.

“I’m a guy who has a lot of desire myself,” Cribbs said. “That shows through in him. I see it. He’s a strong quarterback. And he can get the job done.

“He got it done at Notre Dame. He’s a leader. He’ll get it done with his arm, with his legs. He’s smart.

“It’s a transition now, not the best time since he hasn’t even been here, but he’ll make it. He has it in him. I’ve seen him improve.”

Head Coach Romeo Crennel said Quinn must earn his way up from the bottom. Yet Crennel indicated Quinn might play late in Saturday’s preseason opener against Kansas City.

General Manager Phil Savage, the man who sent Cleveland’s 2008 Round 1 pick to Dallas to get Quinn, said what happens with Quinn is “a coaching decision from this point.”

Savage, though, has been part of in-house talks during which the proper course for Quinn has been decided.

“He’s missed an entire cycle of putting in the offensive system,” Savage said. “He’s got a lot of work to do. ... I don’t think he’ll be getting a lot of sleep over the next few weeks, trying to catch up.”

Savage declined to discuss terms of Quinn’s contract, reported by Fox Sports as a five-year deal worth $20.2 to $30 million, depending on incentives.

Quinn’s deal is worth more than the contracts of fellow quarterbacks Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson and Ken Dorsey combined.

It’s interesting that Saturday’s opponent is Kansas City in that Frye played his best half as a pro Dec. 3 during the first half against the Chiefs — despite spraining his right wrist. He sat out the second half and three subsequent games.

“I just remember playing with a lot of pain,” Frye said.

Being a left tackle in charge of protecting the quarterback’s blind side, Joe Thomas spent the spring bonding with Quinn. They appeared together at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Each took a turn throwing out a pitch at the same Indians game.

“He learns real quick,” Thomas said Tuesday. “He’s a real bright kid. ... I know he really wanted to be here.

“We’re really excited about having him come in here and compete and push some of the other guys.”

Neither Frye nor Anderson has had a great camp, but perceptions will turn on a dime if one or both light it up against Kansas City.

It’s s safe bet Crennel will be dogged by questions about whether Quinn can horn into the competition in time for the Sept. 9 opener against Pittsburgh.

As a rookie, Thomas only has so much pull, but he said, “Once he gets here, I think he’s gonna learn quick and be competing right away.”

Crennel didn’t seem so sure, referring to Quinn’s performance in spring practice.

“I feel he had the feeling that he was lost in OTAs (organized team activities), because that’s what he was,” Crennel said. “But he will study, and he will stay all day.

“If you put in those kind of hours and study, you’ll have a chance.”

Wide receiver Travis Wilson, a rookie holdout last year, said Quinn can expect a little hazing.

“It’s followed me all the way to this year,” Wilson said. “Before we left for break after minicamp, Coach Romeo made a little comment: ‘Get in here on time unless you want to be hurtin’, like Wilson.’ ”

Quinn isn’t like Wilson. He’s a first-round pick. He’s a quarterback. His holdout was longer.

Don’t sweat it too long, Cribbs said:

“Ain’t nothin’ gonna be hurt.”

Reach Canton Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com

BREAKOUT

Romeo Crennel on Brady Quinn:

Q  Thoughts about a long holdout ending?

Crennel  When he passes the conditioning test, we’ll put him on the field. Until that time, he is still not here in my eyes. But the fact that he has agreed (to a contract) is a good sign.

Q  How far behind is Quinn?

Crennel  He has to work extra. We’ll see where he is. He has missed a lot of fundamental work. It’s hard because of all the concentrated work we’ve done. You can’t give it to him now because we’re playing games.

Q  Might Quinn appear late in Saturday’s game against the Chiefs?

Crennel  If he is ready for two plays, he might get two plays. Pretty simple (plays) ... handoffs.