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Training Camp

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Lenz quietly seizing his opportunities

Josh Lenz has been here before.

Thursday, when the Browns host Washington at FirstEnergy Stadium, will mark the start of Lenz's third NFL preseason. After a week-plus of making numerous plays on the practice fields of Berea and the bigger stage of Ohio Stadium, Lenz knows the next four will matter even more.

Twice, Lenz has impressed his coaches and made a handful of big catches against NFL defensive backs only to see his time come to an end at the final cuts. It just hasn't jaded his mindset one bit as he eyes another tough competition for a roster spot among a crowded group of Browns wide receivers.

"It comes down to getting an opportunity," said Lenz, who spent time with the Bears, Seahawks and Colts over the past two seasons. "Some places, you may not get the opportunity or it may not present itself, but you just have to always stay ready. Always stay ready for that opportunity, and when it comes, you have to take advantage of it."

Since he arrived in Cleveland during the middle of OTAs, Lenz has done just that. To those who hadn't seen the plays he regularly made on the practice fields of the Browns Training Facility, Lenz introduced himself in a big way at Friday's Orange and Brown scrimmage. He was on the receiving end of three passes throughout the 50-play period, the last of which coming on a nice, back-shoulder throw from Johnny Manziel.

Manziel and Lenz have developed a good connection throughout training camp, much like the one between first-team quarterback Josh McCown and Brian Hartline. Lenz said the two have simply worked together during most drills since OTAs and he's simply earned the "trust" of Manziel in situations like the ones he faced Friday.

Asked to pinpoint one player on either side of the ball who stood out at the scrimmage, veteran safety Donte Whitner, who wasn't even on the field at the same time as the second-team offense, singled out Lenz.

"He's been a guy that came in, and you barely ever hear him speak," Whitner said. "He's a guy that's always working, and he made a lot of big plays out there (Friday) … The (Colts) ended up letting him go, but he's making a really, really good impression on his teammates and the coaching staff."

Lenz knows the odds are against him, but it hasn't affected his mindset.

Though the Browns don't have a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver, they boast a plethora of reliable options. Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline were added to a group that included three of last year's top options, Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins. Vince Mayle was added in the fourth round of the draft and a number of other receivers who are trying to make the NFL the way Lenz is are fighting just as hard for one of the final roster spots.

When Lenz runs his routes, makes his blocks and eyes the passes that glide into his hands, none of that is racing through his mind.

"You try not to look at it," Lenz said. "You just try going out here every day and doing your job and that's all you can really do. A lot of it's out of your hands. The only thing you can do is do your job and do it right when you get the chance to go in there. That's what I'm trying to do right now."

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