Harrell on tryout with Browns
Well, this is awkward.
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach went on a rant last week after one of his players, quarterback Graham Harrell, went undrafted, and another player, receiver Michael Crabtree, slipped to No. 10. Leach went so far as to accuse Browns coach Eric Mangini of sandbagging Crabtree and leaking reports that Crabtree acted like a "diva" during his meeting with the Browns.
Except that the Browns invited Harrell to rookie minicamp on a three-day tryout. He wasn't offered a contract, so nothing is guaranteed beyond Sunday.
But for now, Harrell finds himself caught between his college coach and a potential NFL employer. The NCAA career record-holder for touchdown passes handled Friday, the first day of the tryout, with grace.
"Coach was good to me while I was there, and he has his strengths," Harrell said. "But Coach Mangini gave me an opportunity, and he's been great, and the staff here's been great, so I appreciate them as well."
Harrell said he's talked to Leach since accepting the Browns' invitation but Leach didn't say anything about Mangini.
Mangini denied Leach's claims that he leaked reports about Crabtree's visit and dismissed the notion he had a problem with the receiver, who ended up taken by the San Francisco 49ers.
"I can tell you I had a good visit with Michael," Mangini said Friday. "I'm really happy he got drafted where he got drafted, and he'll have a great career. And I said that after his visit. Nothing's changed. Nothing changed from that point. Nothing will change two or three months from now."
As for Harrell, Mangini said the 6-foot-2, 223-pounder made a good first impression.
"He's picked up the information easily, and he throws a very accurate ball," Mangini said. "I thought he did a nice job, not just with his throws but being able to run the offense."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.