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Crew Stadium seats Dawg Pound for Browns scrimmage

Columbus Crew Stadium was filled this weekend with the sound of shoulder pads cracking, whistles blowing and grown men barking. The Cleveland Browns are back for another year, and they kicked of their summer schedule with an intrasquad scrimmage against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday in Columbus. The Dawg Pound moved about 140 miles south for the occasion, as Browns and Colts fans from around the region gathered to cheer their teams through two practice sessions. The teams faced off in skills competitions in both sessions, with points awarded for such plays as long punts, completed passes and interceptions. Indianapolis outscored the Browns in the morning session, but Cleveland bounced back to win the afternoon contest. Players and coaches were happy to be able to battle with some new players for the first time this summer. Browns’ quarterback Tim Couch said that the intersquad competition helped get Cleveland fired up. “It just kind of breaks up camp a little bit. We get to see a different defense, a different look out there,” he said. “I think it helps break up camp a little bit, gets guys going a little bit, gets the juices flowing.” Browns’ President and CEO Carmen Policy said that the chance to battle another team was a big plus. “Our players were delighted with the idea that they’re going to hit somebody other than their own players,” he said. Browns Head Coach Chris Palmer said that a couple new acquisitions impressed him in the morning session. “I was pleased with (wide receiver David) Patten. I thought he did some nice things, as far as showing his speed. I also was pleased with (defensive end) Courtney Brown. I thought he did a nice job on the pass rush.” 
Buckeyes in camp
Three former Ohio State players were among those on the field on Saturday. Ben Gilbert, an offensive lineman for the Bucks from 1996-99, and Mike Furrey, a wide receiver who transferred from OSU to Northern Iowa after appearing in nine games as a Buckeye freshman, both appeared for the Colts, having signed with Indianapolis as rookie free agents in April. Marcus Spriggs, who recorded two tackles for the Buckeyes during his redshirt freshman season in 1995, transferred to Troy State to play his final three seasons of college ball. The Browns drafted Spriggs in the sixth round of the 1999 draft, and he notched 17 tackles and forced one fumble during his rookie season. Spriggs seems likely to remain with the Browns this season, but the future is a little bit cloudier for Gilbert and Furrey. Furrey said that matters were out of his hands. “It’s wide open right now,” he said. “That’s the one thing I can ask for right now. The chances are wide open, so you never know.” Gilbert seemed a bit more confident of his chances. “They made the comment yesterday after practice that free agents come along, practice real hard, and they end up beating out drafted players. It’s not uncommon, so I’ve got as good a chance as anyone,” he said. Indianapolis Head Coach Jim Mora said that Gilbert’s play has impressed him. “He’s doing a very fine job,” he said. “We’ve got about six guys that were on our team last year that we feel comfortable with, but we need two or three more. Ben’s right in the hunt.” Gilbert and Furrey said that it was a thrill to play in Columbus again. “It feels great,” Furrey said. “It’s a great experience, being from Ohio State and moving on, and now being in the NFL. It’s great to be back.” “Some of my friends on the team are from Michigan, they’re kind of like ‘uh oh, I’m in OSU country,'” Gilbert said. “But it feels pretty good.”

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