Wright facing battle to keep corner spot

The Cleveland Browns aggressively tried to upgrade their cornerback corps in the offseason, signing Philadelphia’s Sheldon Brown and drafting Joe Haden out of Florida with the seventh overall pick.

Brown will play opposite Eric Wright, but Haden could compete against the former UNLV standout. All three could wind up on the field at the same time.

Wright said he isn’t worried that his playing time could be in jeopardy. He said his approach will be the same regardless

"We’re all competing to fit in," Wright said. "There’s no anointing of anybody. You have to go out and practice and prove yourself day in and day out."

Wright, a fourth-year pro, has started since his rookie season. He set career highs last season with four interceptions and 14 passes defended.

"I think that he will continue to get better … and one day soon he could be one of the best corners in the game," Browns defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said in an e-mail.

Brown, who spent his first eight seasons with the Eagles, recently spoke highly of Wright. According to the team website, Brown called Wright "a heck of an athlete" who doesn’t get "enough respect in this league."

Wright was heartened to receive such praise from a veteran of Brown’s stature.

"You have to appreciate it," he said. "He obviously had a high level of respect for me. That’s true of a lot of top corners; we watch each other play."

The Browns are in organized team activities this week, so this is a time to work on the defense rather than compete for playing time.

That will happen in August.

Cleveland will enter training camp on a high note after winning its final four games last season to finish 5-11, saving coach Eric Mangini’s job.

Wright said retaining Mangini provides welcome stability.

"You know what to expect," Wright said. "Coach Mangini is a very intelligent guy, so he brings a lot to the table."

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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