Cleveland rookie learning NFL is for the big boys.

The odds against 6-foot-5 Chase Pittman are taller than he is. He was one of two defensive linemen picked late in an NFL draft viewed as running out of gas early.


“We’ll be lucky if either of them becomes a player,” a Browns insider says.


Pittman played for LSU in the SEC, but three days of minicamp convince even him LSU plus SEC doesn’t equal NFL.


“It’s really complicated,” he said, “... totally different from what I’m used to. I’ve never played in a 3-4 scheme. It’s taking its toll on me right now.”


Making the team is his Super Bowl — you can tell it by the way he grinds through practice — but he crossed a line Wednesday.


Pittman and first-round pick Joe Thomas went at it after a play at high noon under a hot sun. They took swings at each other before teammates pulled them apart.


“I don’t want to say too much about it,” Pittman said. “I don’t think the coaches want me to say much.”


Given Thomas’ status as a franchise left tackle in waiting, the fight was on the conspicuous side.


“I told both of ’em if they break their hand, they get fined ... try to be smarter about hitting guys in the helmet,” Head Coach Romeo Crennel said. “Hopefully they’ll learn.”


When the smoke cleared, Pittman went back to shooting for a bottom-of-the-roster spot. Thomas went back to talking around questions about holding out, as many high first-round picks do at least briefly.


Thomas had more to say about the fight than Pittman.


“When you don’t have officials, a lot of times the defense gets away with things,” Thomas said. “The offense gets away with stuff. It’s kind of just a way of managing it ... being your own official.”


Did it happen because many of the Browns don’t know their teammates well?


“You actually might see it happening more in college,” Thomas said. “Friends tend to fight more than anybody else. They won’t let each other get away with anything.”


These are supposed to be noncontact practices with players wearing shorts.


“We probably hit more than we did with pads at Wisconsin,” Thomas said.


Getting Hitched


During the break between minicamp and training camp, Thomas will wed his college sweetheart, Annie Nelson.


She was a forward and center on the Wisconsin women’s basketball team, reflecting a common interest — he was a center on his high school basketball team.


The couple will not honeymoon on Lake Michigan, where Thomas gained notoriety by spending draft day catching walleye.


“I couldn’t talk her into that one,” Thomas said.


Coordinator Confab


Coordinators Todd Grantham (defense) and Rob Chudzinski (offense) reviewed their sides of the ball after Wednesday’s second practice.


Chudzinski said at least half his offense consists of base plays that can be run regardless of who is on the field. Other plays will be tailored to specific quarterbacks, “but not just quarterbacks,” Chudzinski said.


Everyone is saying Chudzinski has a big playbook and isn’t afraid to use it.


“If you spoon feed ’em,” he said, “you never get to what you want to get to. Throw as much at ’em as you can and see what sticks.”


Grantham said it’s not too soon for second-round pick Eric Wright to contend for a starting cornerback job.


“Eric is instinctive,” Grantham said. “He has pretty good awareness and ball skills. He seems to get his hands on a lot of balls.”


Grantham said free-agent pick-up Robaire Smith “obviously has upgraded us” at right end. He said Leon Williams, a pleasant surprise as a rookie round 4 pick, will stay inside, a decision made easier because outside linebacker depth was addressed by signing Antwan Peek.


Extra Points


- Thomas guesses the margin for error in the NFL games will be tiny compared with college games. “Once you get in the NFL, if you’re not doing everything perfect, you’re going to get exploited. They’re gonna go back to that thing you’re not doing perfect over and over again, and you’re gonna be made a fool.”


- Crennel on Thomas’ work in recent practices:  “He’s pretty sharp in picking up the system. He looks good now. If he looks good when we put on pads, we’ll have something to work with.”


- Crennel is impressed with Wright’s speed, fluidity and demeanor. Wright doesn’t want to learn the ropes and play down the road. “I want to get out there and win a starting role,” he said.