Browns will keep Bryant, but on short leash

The SportsXchange

Armonty Bryant participated in the three-day minicamp that concluded Sunday and he will be on the roster when the Browns get together for a mandatory three-day minicamp in June -- as long as he has no more brushes with the law.

Bryant is a seventh-round draft choice from Div. II East Central University taken last month with the 217th overall pick. The Browns are looking at him as a right defensive end, even though he has the size at 263 pounds to play outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.

More importantly, Bryant has become a test case for first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski, and how Chud handles Bryant going forward will send a message to the rest of the team what kind of disciplinarian he will be.

Early in the morning of May 2, Bryant was arrested on the East Central campus in Ada, Okla., and charged with DUI. His blood alcohol content was .098. The legal limit in Oklahoma is .08. Bryant pled no contest and was given a one-year deferred sentence.

The significance of the DUI arrest is magnified by the fact Bryant pled no contest to a felony last October when he was arrested for selling marijuana to an undercover agent in a school zone.

The Browns thought about relinquishing their draft rights to Bryant after this latest "stupid mistake," to use the phrase Bryant used both times, but Chudzinski decided to give Bryant another chance. One more mistake, though, and Bryant's NFL career could be finished before it begins, at least as far as the Browns are concerned.

"It's a serious matter," Chudzinski said. "Now that Armonty's gotten here, I had a chance to sit down with him and talk about my expectations and make those expectations clear with him. He understands me and what I expect from him and is ready to make amends.

"Time will tell. You have to give guys every chance, every opportunity, and I feel really good about the structure that we'll have around him to give him every chance. He'll be evaluated consistently and constantly just like all our players are, and time will tell."

"Players were in shorts, jerseys and helmets in minicamp, where most, though not all, rookies look good. Bryant looked big and smooth running drills with the other defensive linemen. He said if down the road the Browns want him to switch to linebacker he will put in the work to make the conversion, but for now he is staying at end. He already is trying to make the jump from Div. II to the NFL. He thought the Browns might tell him to take a hike following the DUI arrest just six days after the draft.

"I was (worried)," Bryant said. "I'm just fortunate the Browns still have faith in me and hopefully I can win a spot on this 53-man roster. I apologized multiple times. Hopefully we can move forward and I can prove (to) them that I'm not that type of person."

"Chudzinski wants to be fair but firm with his players. The Browns were one of the youngest teams in the NFL last year and figure to be even younger in 2013, but Chudzinski is counting on veterans to keep Bryant and the other rookies on the right path.

"We have good guys in the locker room, some guys who are excellent mentors," Chudzinski said. "You look at D'Qwell Jackson, Davone Bess and those guys; anybody that follows them and follows their example will learn how to be a professional. Ultimately, Armonty needs to show that he's going to be accountable and I expect that out of him."

Bryant said he never got an offer from a Division I college. He had 10.5 sacks last year at East Central.
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