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Published: Friday, 10/9/2009

Laid-back Massaquoi in spotlight for Browns

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEREA, Ohio - The only thing flashy about Mohamed Massaquoi is his smile.

Cleveland's rookie wide receiver, who had a breakout game last week against Cincinnati, has much more substance than style. No jewelry. No Twitter page. No attitude.

The second-round pick from Georgia is no Braylon Edwards or Terrell Owens.

And he has no desire to be.

"Just want to be a guy that can be called on to make plays," the easygoing Massaquoi said yesterday. "There's a lot of guys that are laid-back and just go about their own business, and hopefully I can be one of those guys that continues to make plays and it doesn't come with all the extras."

Now that the diva-ish Edwards has been traded to the New York Jets, Massaquoi is likely to be the primary target for Browns quarterback Derek Anderson and a star-deprived Cleveland offense that has not often found the end zone this season.

Held to two catches and virtually ignored in the season's first three games, Massaquoi had eight catches for 148 yards last week, the second-most productive game for a Cleveland rookie wideout since the Browns of the old All-America Football Conference merged with the NFL before the 1950 season.

His star is rising, but Massaquoi is not caught up in the added attention since his performance against the Bengals. He's refreshingly humble. The 22-year-old, whose middle name is "Jah" - short for God in the Rastafari movement - and who lists the Bible as his favorite book, just wants to get better.

"I'm just working hard," he said as the Browns (0-4) prepared for this week's matchup with Buffalo (1-3). "I'm working hard to make sure I can go out there and try to make the plays that come to me."

Massaquoi may have benefited from Edwards' presence last week. The Bengals' secondary rolled its coverage toward Edwards' side of the field, which left room for Massaquoi. Anderson didn't shy away from the unproven rookie, throwing 13 passes in his direction.

This week, Massaquoi won't have Edwards' help, and Anderson could have another young receiver in the lineup if rookie Brian Robiskie - another second-round pick - makes his first career start. Coach Eric Mangini said he'll wait until the end of the week before deciding on his starting lineup.

Edwards, warts and all, was Cleveland's biggest name and biggest threat. Although he didn't always catch the ball, defenses had to account for him at all times. His combination of speed and size made him a difficult cover and a Pro Bowler in 2007, when he had 16 touchdowns.

The Browns receiving corps of Massaquoi, Robiskie, Mike Furrey, Joshua Cribbs and newly acquired Chansi Stuckey isn't exactly a who's who list of players, but there have been plenty of teams that have succeeded without superstar receivers.

"We don't have maybe the superstar there everybody's looking for, but we have guys who are quality and guys who can get out there and want to play and make plays," Furrey said. "New England did it for a long time, guys who go out there and do what they're supposed to do, be where they're supposed to be, keep their mouths shut and catch footballs and make plays and win games."

Mangini doesn't feel it's essential to have a bona fide No. 1 receiver. He believes there's strength in numbers.

"What I'm looking for is a group of receivers that get open and catch the ball, whether it's the one, the two, the three. [New England quarterback] Tom Brady used to say that, 'The receiver I like best is the open one.'•"

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions are being coy about the quarterback's injured right knee and his status.

Is the kneecap dislocated?

"Really not sure," Stafford said yesterday after missing a second straight practice.

Will you play Sunday?

"I don't know," he said. "We'll see."

Detroit coach Jim Schwartz refused to be remotely forthcoming when asked for an update.

"The injury report will be out at 4 o'clock," Schwartz said.



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