BEREA – Robby Parris wasn’t invited to the scouting combine and didn’t get drafted, but he hasn’t given up on his NFL dream.
He’s starting it five minutes from where he grew up.
The Olmsted Falls resident is at Browns rookie minicamp on a tryout. He attended meetings Thursday night, practiced twice Friday and went to more meetings. He spent the night at the team hotel, but could’ve been home just as quickly if he’d taken a right on Bagley Road.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Parris said Friday. “We’re in NFL camp. When you sit back and realize it and say it a couple times out loud, it’s really cool, but it’s tough. It’s very demanding, but that’s how it should be. If you’re going to go out there and play at the highest level, it’s got to be a demanding program.”
Parris (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) went to St. Ignatius High School and the University of Notre Dame, where he’s about to graduate with a degree in finance. He started four games and played in 12 as a sophomore, catching 29 passes for 361 yards and a touchdown. But he played in just 15 games the last two years with 17 catches and a touchdown.
The slip in production and playing time surely hurt his draft stock.
“It’s pretty mentally draining, because you train for so long and you just hope that maybe your name will get called,” he said. “In my case, I kinda realized what kind of player I am and that I’ll probably get a chance somewhere. Wherever I got a chance to play, make sure I gave 100 percent to whoever wanted to take a chance on me.”
Parris attended a workout for local players a couple of weeks ago at the Browns facility and made an impression.
“He did some good things there, so I thought we’d give him an opportunity here,” coach Eric Mangini said. “He’s a really bright person and I did notice him today helping some of the other guys out with the information, which is always a plus.
“Now we’ll see how he does today and tomorrow and Sunday.”
The dozens of players on a tryout aren’t guaranteed anything beyond this weekend. They could be signed to a contract, or given a polite pat on the back.
“I have no idea,” Parris said. “I’m just out here playing. I go meeting to meeting to practice. All I’ve got is the next step.”
THROW HIM A BONE
Cornerback Joe Haden is still waiting for a call or text message from Cavaliers star LeBron James. Haden, the No. 7 pick in the draft, told reporters last week he was a huge fan.
“Somebody tell him to text me,” Haden said Friday. “Some of his people got in touch with my people, but I haven’t really talked to him yet. I know he’s trying to win, but I’m just trying to meet him, so …”
Former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell is at rookie minicamp on a tryout for the second straight year. He threw an NCAA-record 134 touchdown passes and finished fourth in the 2008 Heisman Trophy voting, but didn’t stick with the Browns.
“We just wanted to see where he was and give him another opportunity,” Mangini said. “We like the things he did last year and kept tabs on him over the course of the year.”
Harrell (6-2, 215) wasn’t drafted, despite passing for 15,793 yards, the second most in NCAA history.
Defensive lineman Clifton Geathers (6-7, 300) ran over punter Jonathan Thoma (much smaller than his listed 6-1, 200) during a half-speed kickoff coverage drill. Thoma, who went to Ohio State, was one of the upbacks holding a blocking pad.
“I went and talked to him afterward,” Mangini said of Geathers, a sixth-round pick out of South Carolina. “I appreciate his size and explosion but not against a guy 130 pounds.
“I like the enthusiasm, but it’s like turning a battleship. Once the momentum gets going, it’s hard to move, so he’s got to be conscious of the smaller kids on the playground.”
Receiver Carlton Mitchell, a sixth-round pick out of South Florida, spent the afternoon practice on the stationary bike. Mangini said he tightened up after the morning session. … The Browns announced the signing of 10 rookie free agents – three receivers, two offensive linemen, two defensive backs, a linebacker, a defensive lineman and a tight end.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or email@example.com.