BEREA – Reporter: Do you think you’re skinny?
Barkevious Mingo: A huge laugh, then an answer.
“Naw, I think I’m just fine the way I am,” he said.
Mingo’s weight has been a topic of discussion since he was drafted with the No. 6 pick. The volume was raised when he arrived in Cleveland with narrow shoulders and the body of an NBA shooting guard.
Mingo, a pass-rushing outside linebacker, took the field for the first time as a Brown on Friday as rookie minicamp opened. He appeared sturdier in a jersey than a tailored suit, even without shoulder pads.
“He looked pretty quick and pretty fast,” said coach Rob Chudzinski, who was with Mingo on the field for the first time. “He moves around the field pretty well. It’s always different when you see guys live and in person and you’re on the field. But he had a good day and he really picks things up well. Those are the things that stood out to me.”
Mingo is 6-foot-4 and weighs 237 pounds. He thinks he can excel in the NFL at that weight, but is willing to bulk up.
“Whatever they ask me to do I’ll do,” he said. “As far as how much, I think I can hold a pretty good bit and still be effective.”
Chudzinski said the ideal weight has yet to be determined, but Mingo will be given a target for training camp at the end of offseason workouts.
“Different guys have different body types and different weights they play the best at,” Chudzinski said. “It’s a matter of getting him in here and spending time with (strength) coach (Brad) Roll. All those things will work themselves out.”
The weight questions continued to Mingo, before he was asked if too much is made of it.
“Exactly. You hit, you catch, you tackle,” he said. “It’s football.”
Safety Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles) and offensive tackle Chris Faulk (knee) didn’t practice, riding the stationary bike during the half-hour open to media. Slaughter was a sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame, and Faulk was signed as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. Both had their 2012 seasons ended by surgery.
“Slaughter we are expecting to be back ready for training camp, maybe he will be ready sooner,” Chudzinski said. “For Faulk, we are looking at basically the same thing. We will see and make that determination for sure after this is over.”
Faulk (6-6, 330) started 13 games at left tackle in 2011 and was second-team All-SEC. He was hurt in practice after one game last season, then had separate surgeries to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee. He had a year left of eligibility, but declared for the draft.
“He’s a big guy and that’s the first thing that stands out to you,” Chudzinski said. “Certainly coming back from the injury he’ll have a lot of work to do. As a player who played at LSU, played and started games and competed in that conference, obviously there is something there.”
Outside linebacker Paul Kruger and cornerback Joe Haden weren’t allowed to practice because they’re veterans, but they were interested observers. Defensive lineman Dave Kruger signed as an undrafted free agent, and running back Josh Haden was invited to try out.
“The big brothers were real interested in those guys,” Chudzinski said. “Josh came running by. I asked who was faster, he or Joe, and I made sure Joe heard me. Obviously he can run. He made a couple nice runs out there.”
Haden (5-9, 190) is a long shot to make the team, but could stick around for the offseason and training camp. He started his career at Boston College, then transferred to Toledo, but didn’t play because of academic reasons.
Josh looks a lot like Joe, but smaller.
Youngstown State running back Jamaine Cook (5-9, 210) grew up minutes away from Browns headquarters in Middleburg Heights and graduated from Midpark High School. He attended youth camps at the facility and watched training camp.
“I definitely grew up a Browns fan,” he said. “But I don’t want that to be a distraction. I’ve got a goal I want to accomplish and I want to work.”
He said he never thought about wearing the orange helmet.
“God works in mysterious ways,” he said. “This is obviously a blessing. I just love being here. This is my comfort zone because this is where I’m from. It makes things much easier.”
Despite playing much of his rookie season with a broken rib, running back Trent Richardson was No. 71 on NFL Network’s list of top 100 players in 2013. The network is revealing 10 players a week down to No. 1.
Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, ranked as the sixth rookie. For perspective, Bills defensive end Mario Williams was No. 72 and Chargers tight end Antonio Gates No. 73.
“It is an honor. Just to be named with these guys,” Richardson said on the broadcast. “I looked at the list and I am ahead of some of the guys I thought should be ranked higher.
“When I am healthy and with the team helping me, I think I can go higher. It is nothing I am bragging on, but I just know me and know what the team is going to bring to the table this year. So this time next year, you should see a much lower number.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and former Browns linebackers Chris Gocong and Eric Barton joined Athlete Ally, which works to end homophobia in sports.
“I believe that everyone should be treated the same,” Jackson said in a statement. “That’s my thought as a person and as a teammate. Joining Athlete Ally is my way of letting it be known that I would respect any teammate — gay or straight — it just doesn’t matter.”
Former Browns linebacker Scott Fujita helped the trio join the movement.
“It is clear by the advocacy of these players that Cleveland is a welcoming environment,” Fujita said. “That is something I am very proud of.”
Owner Jimmy Haslam, as he said he would, watched practice from the sideline. He spent part of the time talking to Paul Kruger.
• Kevin Griffin was hired as vice president of fan experience and marketing, the team announced this week. He was a four-year letterman at Ohio State (1995-98), is the nephew of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and has worked with the Seattle Seahawks.
• Toledo tight end Cordale Scott (Cleveland) and Wofford linebacker Mike Niam (Hudson) are in camp on tryouts.
• Practice began outside but was moved inside the fieldhouse when it stormed.
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