Brady Quinn knows about Cleveland's disappointing sports history, and he's hoping to do something magical with the Browns.
Certain people in Stark County remember the 1985 NBA playoffs like they happened yesterday. The Cavs sent Canton’s Phil Hubbard against Boston superstar Larry Bird, who seemed to get every call in a series the heavily favored Celtics barely won.
It was hardly yesterday. One of Cleveland’s most visible current Cavs fans was in his first year of life.
Brady Tyler Quinn was born in a rough era for the region’s pro sports teams.
World B. Free was trying to dig the Cavs out of the Ted Stepien era. The Indians were coming off a 75-87 year, doomed to go 60-102.
The future Browns quarterback was born the week the team fired Sam Rutigliano, the day before Marty Schottenheimer lost his head coaching debut to the Saints, 16-14. Morten Andersen kicked the longest field goal in the history of Cleveland Stadium on the final play. It was raining.
Like all die-hard Cleveland fans, Quinn learned to overlook the clouds.
“As I grew up,” he said Tuesday, “I followed all of the Cleveland teams. Whatever was in season.”
He assumes his dad, Ty, was watching on his first birthday, when Washington beat the Browns 14-7. Rookie quarterback Bernie Kosar started but was replaced by Gary Danielsen. The Redskins’ quarterback was Joe Theismann, who 22 1/2 years later criticized Quinn’s draft-day haircut on national TV.
Indians slugger Travis Hafner said recently it’s neat to see Quinn, the quarterback of the future, show up at other Cleveland pro sporting events.
“You get a sense the Browns are building something,” Hafner said.
Someone asked Quinn on Tuesday if he was going to the Cavs game, the first NBA Finals game ever played in Cleveland.
“I wish,” he said, flashing a big grin. “I’ll be there in spirit.”
It was a work night. Minicamp is rolling. The Browns practiced twice Tuesday and have two more sessions today.
Romeo Crennel is saying next to nothing about Quinn’s progress. Don’t ask him if the Round 1 pick is on course to beat out Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson.
But ask Quinn point blank if he wants to start the opener Sept. 9 against Pittsburgh.
“Without a doubt,” he said emphatically.
He followed that with diplomatic material intended to respect the other quarterbacks.
But he came back with lines that tell you he doesn’t want to hide for a year, or a month, on the bench.
“I grew up a Cleveland Browns fan. I understand the rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh,” he said. “That’s my ultimate goal, being there. Hopefully it will come true.”
No one is quite sure what he is watching in minicamp. That includes players and coaches.
Crennel says training camp, starting July 27, will be much more instructive.
Wideout Braylon Edwards says it’s irrelevant how pretty -- or ugly -- passing practice looks, that learning the steps of the new offense is the thing.
Quinn vs. Frye vs. Anderson? “It’s going to be a good battle,” Edwards said.
Quinn is getting the hang of how quickly passing windows close in an NFL practice, throwing to who knows whom one minute to the next -- there are 92 men on the roster. His plan is to understand the offense “like a guy who has been here three, four, five years.”
Quinn will turn 23 two days before a home game against the Jets. The season will be six games old. Everyone wonders whether the rookie will have made his first serious step into Cleveland sports history.
He’s not equating minicamp to the NBA Finals.
“My whole goal is not really worrying about where I’m at,” he said. “It’s setting my eyes on where I’m going.”
Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.