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Browns’ Benard Not Practicing, Wants To Play

(Photo by NFL Photos)

(Photo by NFL Photos)

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns linebacker Marcus Benard sat out practice on Friday and continues to be evaluated, one day after fainting in Cleveland’s locker room.

Benard collapsed in front of his cubicle on Thursday during the 45-minute interview period open to reporters. He underwent tests at an area hospital and continues to be evaluated, coach Eric Mangini said Friday. Benard spent about eight hours at Southwest General Hospital.

“It was just really fainting,” Mangini said.

Benard, who leads the Browns with 4½ sacks, wants to play on Sunday against the New York Jets (6-2). Mangini said that it’s possible.

“Marcus always wants to play and the key thing is just getting all the information,” Mangini said. “There’s been no new news based off of the tests so we’ll just have to see how it goes.”

The 25-year-old Benard made Cleveland’s roster last season as an undrafted free agent. He spent the first nine weeks last season on the practice squad, and had a breakout game when he sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice.

He has started two games this season for the Browns (3-5), who are coming off back-to-back upsets of New Orleans and New England.

Mangini often singles out Benard for his work ethic and cites him as an example of a player who went under the radar before blossoming.

“He came in about as raw as you could get,” Mangini said. “There were times where I didn’t know if he was going to hang around because there were some things he wasn’t quite getting. But he kept working at it. Because of the way that he worked, he kept getting more and more chances.

“Coming back this year, we had him speak to the rookie class. I thought his message was powerful. He was very articulate, very comfortable with who he was and what his goals were and it’s just great to see.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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