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Hank Happy to Help


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Fraley finding ways to fit, help

Zac Jackson, Staff Writer 10.28.2009


Hank Fraley's next trick may or may not include a touchdown catch.


But what the Browns' versatile veteran offensive lineman turned part-time tight end has already caught is the further respect of his teammates, coaches and any blue-collar football junkie who can appreciate the success story of an undrafted guy out of Robert Morris who's still producing in the NFL 10 years later.


Fraley was the Browns' starting center from 2006-08. That job now belongs to first-round rookie Alex Mack, but Fraley made four starts at right guard after Floyd Womack went down in Week Two. In the last two games, Fraley has seen action as extra tackle/tight end as injuries at the tight end position forced the Browns to get creative.


"I really like Hank for a lot of reasons," Browns head coach Eric Mangini said. "I like the way that he approaches everything.He has great professionalism.He's willing to play whatever role he can play. He's helped Alex throughout this process.


"Last week, we were in a really unique situation at tight end, going into the game without Steve (Heiden) or Robert (Royal) and really working with Michael (Gaines), who was new and Greg Estandia, who's been here, but hasn't had any kind of extensive role, and those were our two tight ends for the game.Hank had been playing some in those packages.


"We had to use him a bit more, but he's happy to do it.He does well.He approaches it the same way he approaches his offensive line play."


Fraley approached the 2009 season knowing he'd be both battling and tutoring Mack, and he said seeing the rookie win the center job meant nothing more than opening himself to different ways he could help the team.


"For anybody who has started for a long time, in the back of your mind you're always going to want to be in the game and playing as a starter," Fraley said. "You have to know your roles. Right now my role is to help out the guys and be ready if something does happen."


He never envisioned tight end being one of those roles. But just in case his number 66 would get called in the passing game, he played a little catch with Derek Anderson the other day.


"He can't catch," Anderson said. "I shouldn't say he can't catch, but it's just not as efficient as it needs to be."


When told of Anderson's charge, Fraley called himself "a gamer."


That he's been. Originally signed out of a non-scholarship program at Robert Morris by the nearby Steelers, Fraley was picked up by the Eagles after his first training camp and spent six seasons there that included starting in two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl.


He was traded to the Browns just prior to the 2006 regular season, and he's still enjoying every day of a remarkable - and ever-changing - run.


"As a team we haven't won like we expect to, but the guys here have been great," Fraley said. "My career here has been great and I'm having fun.


"I'm just trying to fit in wherever I can. Lately it's been tight end; guard if somebody goes down. Hopefully nobody has to go down. But when my number is dialed, I'm trying to make sure I'm ready to play."



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"He can't catch," Anderson said. "I shouldn't say he can't catch, but it's just not as efficient as it needs to be."


This cracks me up. This makes Fraley different than other Browns player how? I'd be surprised if some of them can catch a cold.

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