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The new center of attention

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  • The new center of attention

    The new center of attention
    By Zac Jackson, Staff Writer
    July 27, 2006

    One of the first things the Browns did last March after adding a Pro Bowl center with Cleveland roots was add another center with Cleveland roots.

    Now, two days into training camp, the signing of Bob Hallen will no longer be overlooked.

    Shortly after LeCharles Bentley suffered a season-ending torn patella tendon Thursday morning, Hallen took over at center with the first-team offense. Early indications are that the nine-year veteran will keep that position as the Browns continue to prepare for the 2006 season.

    Hallen, a Mentor native and Kent State graduate, has started 47 of 86 career games, playing both center and guard. He signed with the Browns after spending the last four seasons with San Diego and his first four pro seasons with Atlanta, who drafted him in the second round in 1998.

    And while the Browns will certainly miss Bentley’s strength, talent and leadership, they take at least some comfort in knowing they have a physical and experienced player to turn to.

    “(Hallen) is pretty strong,” Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. “He’s thick. He has some experience and some really good strength.

    “He has versatility. He’s played in the league. We were looking for that center/guard combination and that’s why we signed him.”

    Hallen has been in this situation before. He played in just two games in all of 2004 before he was called upon to replace starting center Nick Hardwick in the Chargers’ AFC Wildcard Playoff loss to the Jets.

    “You just never know in this league,” Hallen said Thursday. “You always have to prepare yourself like you’re starting so when your time comes, you’re good to go.”

    Hallen hasn’t been a full-time player since 2002, when he started 11 games and played in 13 for San Diego. He was a regular starter for Atlanta, mostly at left guard, from 1999-2001. He played in 12 games, including Super Bowl XXXIII, for Atlanta as a rookie in 1998.

    He started 13 games in 2002, his first season with the Chargers, but played just three games in 2003 before suffering a season-ending torn pectoral muscle. Now, at 31, it appears he’ll get another chance to be a starter.

    “You never like to see your teammate go down,” Hallen said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s the nature of the beast.”

    Crennel and general manager Phil Savage said they’ll explore options for adding a backup center, but offered no timetable or leads.

    With Hallen now playing center with the first-team offense, rookie fourth-round pick Isaac Sowells and Atlas Herrion, who spent last season on the practice squad, have a chance to emerge as the top backup guard.

    Dave Yovanovits, a backup guard a year ago, played some center in the spring and will have a chance to make the team, as will undrafted rookie center Paul Smith. Crennel said Herrion also could play center.

    “We’ll see if there’s anybody out there who might fit into our plans,” Crennel said. “In the meantime, we have some young kids who are working hard.”

    The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

    The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

  • #2
    I hope he can do a decent job atleast, never seen him play but, hope he does a nice job out there, (he played in John Elways last game )