The Browns didn’t just get hometown kid Joe Jurevicius in the 2006 offseason, but also LeCharles Bentley, of St. Ignatius’s fame. Bentley went to Ohio State and became a star offensive linemen for the team, starring in the middle as the team’s steady and award-winning center. He was drafted in the second round by the New Orleans Saints where he started his first two seasons as a guard and went to the Pro Bowl in his third year. In his third year, he switched back to center and played two more years for the Saints where he went to another Pro Bowl.
A rare two-position Pro Bowler is rare. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the Sean Payton, Drew Brees era of the Saints, and Bentley was very dissatisfied with how the team treated him. The team didn’t extend an offer of any kind to him, due to Bentley threatening to sit out the season if they were able to regain his rights.
Bentley was the top-rated free agent and had his eyes set on one place; home.
He had a deal with the Eagles down but rumor has it the Browns upped their offer and Bentley picked Cleveland. He came in with fellow hometown kids Jurevicius and punter Dave Zastudil (Bay Village). The team also added key pieces like Kevin Shaffer and Willie McGinest, all key pieces of the magical 2007 season that saw the team win 10 games.
The team just needed a quarterback and they would be locked. With Ryan Tucker, Shaffer, Hank Fraley, and Joe Andruzzi, the team saw Bentley as the last piece for a league-best offensive line. Then on the first play of the first 11 on 11 drill, Bentley tore his patella tendon and would never play football again. Like Jurevicius, Bentley developed a staph infection in his leg from unclean conditions during his recovery. The virus nearly caused the doctors to amputate his leg in order to save his life.
Luckily the surgeries worked and Bentley got to keep both of his legs.