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Published: 8/22/2008

Ex-Brown Bodden not a Lions starter

BY TONY GROSSI
(CLEVELAND) PLAIN DEALER

CLEVELAND - Leigh Bodden might not be on the field with the Detroit Lions' starting defense tomorrow when the Cleveland Browns play at Detroit.

The former Browns cornerback, who was included in the trade for Shaun Rogers on March 1, is listed as a backup on the Lions' depth chart. The starters are Brian Kelly and Travis Fisher, though Bodden has worked with the first team on occasion.

"I'm not complaining," Bodden said in a phone interview. "It's been a good camp. I've been picking up the defensive system. Guys are treating me good."

Management treated Bodden well, too. He signed a four-year contract extension last month for a reported $27 million. The deal includes an $8.6 million option bonus in March - a possible bailout for the Lions if they don't like what they see.

Thus, Bodden knows he's on a one-year trial.

"But it can work in either's favor," he said. "It was the best-case scenario for me, something I could live with. I'm either going to get the big payday or be a free agent. Plus, it gave me $1 million more than I was supposed to make this year."

Bodden admitted that his parting from the Browns stemmed from his desire to seek a new contract. He had discussions with general manager Phil Savage soon after the 2007 season ended.

"I stated my case that I felt I should be paid more than what I was getting," he said. "Phil said, 'Can you play one more year with it?' And I didn't think I could. From that conversation, I figured I'd be traded."

Bodden said he "would have loved to be a part" of a playoff season in Cleveland, where he played for five years.

"But at the end of the day, it's a business. It was a good five years. I met a lot of great people. Not too many players stick around with one team forever."

He said while the Browns may have some issues in the defensive backfield, he believes Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald will acquit themselves well as starters.

"Those two young guys are really talented," Bodden said. "Definitely, they can handle it and make a lot of plays. They won't be hurting with those two guys."

ROGERS READY: Rogers, meanwhile, expects to play against his former team after being held out of the second preseason game against the Giants.

Asked what kind of reception he expects from the Detroit crowd, Rogers said, "I don't know. I play for the Browns now. So I'm assuming I'll get the same reception other Browns get."

The No. 1 defensive line of Corey Williams, Rogers and Robaire Smith has played together for only two plays in Game 1 against the Jets.

"I feel we have a lot of chemistry already," Rogers said. "We're going to have 16 solid games to continue to work on that kind of chemistry, so I don't think that's going to be a problem."

Coach Romeo Crennel said of Rogers, "He's coming along good. I still like him. In shorts, we all look good, but in pads he looks good, too. I think you'll like what he's able to bring to the table."

DANIELS ON BOARD: Newly acquired Travis Daniels passed his physical and participated in his first practice. Crennel said Daniels probably wouldn't play in Detroit because he's got to get better acclimated to the defensive system.

That might not take long because Daniels played for Nick Saban at LSU and Miami, and the terminology is similar to the Browns'.

Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker helped recruit Daniels to LSU before Tucker left for Ohio State.



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