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Bitter beginnings

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NEW YORK – Perhaps Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn should look at it this way: Getting snubbed initially by his hometown team may have provided him some health insurance.

The Cleveland Browns' decision to bypass Quinn with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft on Saturday allowed the Browns to pull off a dynamic pair of first-round selections. The Browns started off the day getting left tackle Joe Thomas to solidify the offensive line. They then acquired the Dallas Cowboys' pick at No. 22 to rescue Quinn from his four-hour free fall.

Of course, the "safety" stance is the pragmatic view. However, it's not the perspective from behind the tears that Quinn's sisters shed at one point as he and his family sat through the humiliation of being the last guy out of the green room at Radio City Music Hall. For Quinn's family, it was another indignity in a season of unfulfilled goals.

"This whole year at Notre Dame was like this," said Robin Quinn, Brady's mother, who watched her daughters fall to tears as they waited to hear their brother's name announced. "He missed a lot of childhood dreams and goals: winning the national championship, winning the Heisman [Trophy], and being the No. 1 pick. They all just faded away."

The question now for Quinn after his mighty fall is whether he will turn the snub into burning emotion or simply fade away, as many NFL people believe.

"I'd be lying if I said no," Quinn said when asked if he would use this snub for emotional fuel. "You've got to feel that way. You've got to feel all of the teams that passed up on you, you have to come out with a chip on your shoulder. That just builds the motivation. All of the negative things that people say, all of the things that happened in college, all through this entire process."

Quinn's father, Ty, took it a step further.

"Now he has to go out, get a job and then kick their ass," the elder Quinn said, referring to how the Miami Dolphins, desperately in need of a fix at the quarterback position, passed on his son at No. 9 overall. "That's how it is in the Quinn family."

Miami's decision to pass on Quinn in favor of Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., seemed odd. The Dolphins, who are expected to complete a trade for veteran quarterback Trent Green, did want speed. But Ginn, a dynamic kick returner, was a guy who many evaluators felt would go later in the first round because his abilities as a receiver have been questioned.

Beyond that, Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller told plenty of people that he liked Quinn and even toyed with the idea of trading up for him. At least that's what Mueller said. Dolphins fans were fully expecting Quinn to be their guy.

Heck, even Ginn Jr. said he expected the Dolphins to take Quinn.

Still, Ginn wasn't nearly caught off guard as Quinn and his family.

"I was cleaning up around the room we were in at one point," Robin Quinn said. "I start cleaning when I get nervous."

The Browns stopped the anxiety by trading the No. 36 pick this year and a first-round pick next year to Dallas for the rights to Quinn. The Browns, who were getting competition from the Baltimore Ravens for Quinn, paid an expensive price to get Quinn, which is something of a compliment.

It was really the only compliment Quinn could salvage. Similar to 2005 when current Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went from being a possible No. 1 overall pick to No. 24, Quinn sat there as one team after another passed on him. All the people who believe Quinn is overrated reveled.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed Quinn some compassion. At one point, Quinn left the green room to go to the bathroom. He ran into Goodell, who suggested that Quinn and his family move into Goodell's room at the hall.

"I thought it would be nice for them to have a change of environment," said Goodell, who actually warned Quinn and the other four players (quarterback JaMarcus Russell, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, defensive end Gaines Adams and running back Adrian Peterson) in the green room that this could happen.

"When I met with the five of them, I said, 'One of you is going to go last and it's going to seem like an eternity,'" Goodell said.

More like purgatory. Quinn did his best to keep a stoic look, borrowing on all of his extensive public relations skills. After he was drafted, there was some hint of awkward satisfaction. By the time he faced a roomful of reporters, Quinn turned on his pitchman smile.

"I made the decision to come here to New York City," Quinn said. "It's a great place. To have the chance to come here, spend it with my family and friends, all the people that love you, it's fun. It's just unfortunate it worked out the way it did. But I guess I'm young, still learning lifelong lessons like patience."

Lots of patience. Then again, if that patience pays off in a better situation, like having a real offensive line in front of him, it was well worth the wait.

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