Browns acquire center from Bears

Updated: August 24, 2006, 6:48 PM ET
Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns, who have had problems at center all training camp, acquired center Lennie Friedman from the Chicago Bears on Thursday for a 2007 conditional draft choice.

Friedman has played in 65 games, including 32 starts at guard and center, in seven seasons with Denver, Washington and Chicago.

"I'm going to have to put in a lot of overtime to catch up to speed with everybody else that's been here," Friedman said. "There's no question it's an exciting opportunity."

He played in 10 games with Washington last season before being waived in November. He signed with Chicago and played in one game as a reserve.

"It's good to have some experience and depth at the position," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "He's a tough-minded guy who will give everything he has."

Cleveland's trouble at center started when LeCharles Bentley, the team's biggest free agent signing in the offseason, suffered a season-ending knee injury on the second day of training camp. Backup center Bob Hallen then abruptly retired with a back problem and Alonzo Ephraim was suspended for the first four regular-season games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Ross Tucker, acquired in a trade from the New England Patriots, is now the Browns starter.

Friedman, the eighth center to join the Browns' roster this season, will have the chance to compete with Tucker for the starting job, Crennel said.

Friedman has 10 career starts at center, the last coming in 2004 with the Redskins.

The Browns also waived center Mike Mabry on Thursday.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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