Raiders QB Frye excited for Cleveland homecoming
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Charlie Frye still isn’t exactly sure why he got bounced out of Cleveland three years ago, but the Oakland Raiders’ quarterback is certainly looking forward to going back.
Frye, who sustained a concussion against Denver last week, will make his second start of the season Sunday when the Raiders travel to face the Browns in a battle of two teams going nowhere.
Originally a third-round pick for Cleveland, Frye gained instant notoriety when he became the first player in NFL history to start a season-opener for one team and be with another team the following week after the Browns traded him to Seattle on Sept. 11, 2007.
“There’s nothing in the world that can prepare you for something like that because it’s so unexpected,” Frye said Thursday. “To be the first guy in the NFL that that’s happened to is pretty unreal but (Seahawks coach Mike) Holmgren told me that it’s all about how you respond. I didn’t want to hear that then because I was mad, but it was the total truth.”
Frye has played in only three games since the trade to Seattle, including a start for Oakland in its 20-19 win over Denver last week. The 28-year-old completed 9 of 17 passes against the Broncos but was knocked out of the game with a concussion early in the fourth quarter after being hit by linebacker Andra Davis.
He was cleared to play earlier this week and immediately went about securing 30 tickets for friends and family still living in Ohio. Frye, who makes his offseason home about two hours away from Cleveland, also played for the University of Akron.
As if that isn’t enough to make it a homecoming for Frye, his sister Elizabeth is getting married on Saturday.
“It’s an event-packed weekend,” Frye said. “It’s a chance for the family to come and those things are special because who knows if I’ll ever get back there to play another game.”
Frye expected to be in Cleveland a long time when the Browns drafted him in the third round in 2005. He started five games as a rookie and another 13 the following season, enough to earn him the starting job heading into 2007.
In the blink of an eye, all of that changed.
In the season-opener against Pittsburgh three years ago, Frye completed just 4 of 10 passes for 34 yards with one interception and was sacked five times before being pulled in favor of Derek Anderson.
Two days later, he was in Seattle, swapped for a sixth-round draft pick.
“I really didn’t comprehend how this position is supposed to be played until I got to Seattle,” Frye said. “You always wonder, ‘Well, what if I had known that when I was playing in Cleveland? Would that have made a difference?’ And the longer you’re playing the more you understand.”
The game in Cleveland also gives Frye the chance to reconnect with Holmgren, who earlier this week agreed to become the Browns’ president.
“He teaches guys how to play, how to be good men, and that’s the way he treats you,” Frye said of Holmgren. “The people that play for him respect that and play that much harder for him. Coach Cable has a lot of similarities in the way he goes about running his team that coach Holmgren does. He treats guys like men. He may not tell you what you want to hear but he’s going to be up front and honest.”
Frye spent much of Sunday night and Monday trying to remember what happened in the Denver game and had to watch film to find out.
Now free from the lingering symptoms from the concussion, Frye is back in the Raiders lineup and hopes to duplicate the success Bruce Gradkowski had when he returned home. Gradkowski, a native of Pittsburgh who was Oakland’s starter before tearing the medial collateral ligaments in both knees, led the Raiders to a 27-24 win over the Steelers on Dec. 6.
Like the Pittsburgh game, weather conditions are expected to be near freezing on Sunday with a chance of snow.
“I’m a little surprised (Frye) hasn’t just become that superstar player because he has everything, all the intangibles, and he’s a great kid,” said Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who coached in Oakland from 2004-08. “I don’t care how bad the weather is, that kid could throw it through a storm.”
NOTES: TE Zach Miller, who sustained a concussion against Washington on Dec. 13, was limited in practice and still needs to pass another test before getting cleared to play. … FB Luke Lawton was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league’s drug policy. Lawton, who has played in 13 games with three starts this season, will miss the Raiders’ final two games this season and lose nearly $63,000 in pay. He will also have to sit out the first two games of the 2010 regular season with whatever team he signs with.