Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter on course for Sunday

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 08: J.C. Tretter #64 of the Cleveland Browns takes the field against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 08: J.C. Tretter #64 of the Cleveland Browns takes the field against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

J.C. Tretter is back at practice for the Cleveland Browns

J.C. Tretter of the Cleveland Browns is back at practice after arthroscopic knee surgery. Even though he has missed many practice snaps with the first team, he should be ready to go and will play at a high level.

This fellow has become my favorite Cleveland Brown not just because of his play on the Browns offensive line, but also because of the leadership he has shown as president of the NFL Player’s Association. Quite a number of owners and fans wanted to hang him early on, but they now realize that without a Covid-19 plan, they would be following the Big 10 plan:  total chaos with no football. Seriously, he would be a great candidate for Governor or Congress because he can get people with wildly different agendas to talk and reason things out.

By the way, this writer owes Mr. Tretter an apology because of having reported that he was an Ohio native this is not true. He was born in Batavia New York, and went to Akron Central High School in Akron, New York. Not Ohio. Who knew? Not this writer.

Anyway, sorry about the mixup, but nevertheless it would still be great if, several years from now, the State of Ohio might be fortunate enough to have a person like Tretter choose to live here permanently and even represent us in the House of Representatives or the Senate, or the Governor’s Mansion. If he can work with Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder, then Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell should hold no terrors for him.

Tretter is an Ivy League graduate from the prestigious Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR)  School. If you go back and read what the owners were saying about COVID in March, and then see how quickly they wound up with an agreement at the behest of the NFLPA, you will see that there was some effective negotiating going on, and it all came from the players’ side.

The owner’s original idea was to simply put players on the NFL Non-Football Injury (NFI) list if they were to be infected by Covid-19. Tretter helped them to see that that was a non-starter and they needed to change in order to avoid ruining their product, and it worked.

On the field, Tretter is the eyes, ears, and brains of the offensive line. He has to recognize the opposing defense and call signals for the offensive line to attack it with the new wide zone-blocking scheme. So his role is more than just blocking defenders. The Browns need his brains and leadership as much as his physical skills.

Some weeks earlier, the news out of Berea had been more pessimistic about Tretter’s return to the practice field. However, the veteran center — working with the trainers and coaching staff —  has a history of delaying practice reps while extending the physical rehab portion of the process. Not to not confuse old J.C. with Allen Iverson, the former basketball player who once hilariously ranted against the importance of practice, but in Tretter’s case, the head knowledge is there.

Strengthening the knee is a higher priority than refining the performance via practice reps. Both are important, but it would not be smart if the knee were to be re-injured because of a misstep in practice. Tretter, knock on wood, has yet to miss a single game snap as a Cleveland Brown. That’s three years, 3,201 consecutive snaps.

Tretter, as well as other veterans including Joe Thomas, have used similar methods in the past.  When the body says it wants time to recover, the older athlete is wise to listen. A 22-year-old, say, is wise to get his butt on the practice field, but Tretter is not 22 anymore. So taking extra time in rehab may have been part of the plan all along.

Speaking of 22, backup center Nick Harris has not even reached that milestone yet, as he will not celebrate his 22nd birthday until November 13. His face is so young looking, he scarcely looks old enough to drive. He is going to benefit from practice reps from the first string.

Cleveland also has third-year pro Evan Brown, who has NFL experience with the Giants and Dolphins and graded out rather well with Pro Football Focus, but in just 38 NFL game snaps. Brown went undrafted from Southern Methodist University in 2018, but at his Pro Day put up 36 reps on the bench press, which is three more than Myles Garrett.

That was enough to make this fan’s eyes glaze over right there, but his vertical of 36 inches was higher than Joe Schobert’s, and his 40 time of 4.97 was very fast for a big man. So he has some tools to work with. Harris and Brown are being tutored by Bill Callahan, one of the best offensive line coaches in the business. They have talent on the bench as well as on the field.

Next. Mary Kay’s interview with Myles Garrett shows different side. dark

Harris and Brown probably are not going to get a chance to play because Tretter is back on course and will be calling signals for the O-Line on Sunday.