Aug/02/12 09:03 AM Filed in: Travis Benjamin
BEREA, Ohio -- Let it be known here and now that Travis Benjamin is more than just a speedy athlete.
The pint-sized, slight-framed, 5-10 Benjamin isn't exactly out to prove that he's more than a slippery rookie receiver for the Browns. Still, when called to play in a physical manner, Benjamin hasn't yet backed down from anyone in training camp.
He showed some grit again Wednesday as he battled cornerbacks and safeties to come up with any pass thrown his way -- including an end zone bullet from Colt McCoy that required him to fight rookie defensive back Emanuel Davis to catch the ball.
"Even though I might be small in size, I've been playing football ever since I've been young and mostly all of the guys are bigger than me," Benjamin said. "I've got to keep that mindset that I've got to play big."
So far, it's working. Benjamin has been playing well enough that coach Pat Shurmur has noticed him, saying the first-year player is earning field time by his performance.
"We knew he had the skill to be able to play in this league," Shurmur said. "I think if both [Benjamin and rookie receiver Josh Gordon] progress like they're doing, at the pace they're going now, they'll be major contributors."
Benjamin was the only receiver drafted by the team in April, before it picked up Gordon in the supplemental draft, and there were questions about whether he could compete at the NFL level. But the Miami product has been holding his own in training camp.
Part of that comes from off-season practice he had in Miami with fellow Hurricane products Andre Johnson and Santana Moss. Benjamin worked on sharpening his route running and preparing to catch the ball before he's even turned to face it.
But the physical part of the game, the part everyone worries about when glancing at Benjamin's skinny frame, is the part that has come naturally.
"That's all a part of football -- being physical," he said. "There's not one player on the field that's not physical. Every time, every play has contact. I'm used to it."
So don't worry about Benjamin. He's fine with the physical part of the game, and feels as if he and Gordon are ready contribute to a receiving corps searching for sure hands.
"It's very exciting knowing we can help Josh [Cribbs], knowing we can help Mohamed [Massaquoi], knowing we can help Greg Little," Benjamin said. "And with Trent [Richardson] back there running the ball, it's going to be a blast for us on offense this year."