By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat ReporterBy Daryl Ruiter | 92.3 The Fan

EASTLAKE (92.3 The Fan) – Josh Gordon could be lost for the 2014 season but he isn’t forgotten.

Since Gordon was arrested in North Carolina for DWI on July 5 several of his teammates have reached out to him including cornerback Joe Haden and quarterback Brian Hoyer.

“We have had communication. [He’s] like a little brother to me,” Haden said prior to his celebrity softball game at Classic Park Thursday evening. “Everybody [is] praying for him and hope the best for him.”

Out of respect for Gordon, both Haden and Hoyer kept the contents of their conversations with Gordon private.

Gordon, who faces an indefinite suspension – a minimum of 1 year – stemming from a failed drug test earlier this year, is awaiting an appeal hearing later this month. It should be noted that the NFL considers missed tests a failed test but Gordon’s recent arrest won’t help his case.

Home Run King – Buster Skrine loves to hit softballs.

Skrine bested Brian Hoyer 2-1 in the finals to win the home run derby prior to Haden’s celebrity softball game Thursday night at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio.

Skrine went on to collect 4 hits in the game including 2 more home runs. He also scored 4 times and made several nice plays at third in the defense’s 28-15 win over Hoyer and the offense.

Home run derby totals by round (swing off)
Finals: CB Buster Skrine 3, 4, (1), 2; QB Brian Hoyer 5, 5, 1
Semifinals: DB Jordan Poyer 7, 4, (0), DB TJ Heath 4, 2
Opening round: WR Travis Benjamin 1, WR Miles Austin 1, LB Craig Robertson 0, CB Joe Haden 0

Ready For Camp – Travis Benjamin doesn’t expect to start training camp on the PUP list.

“No, not at all,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin, who recovered from a torn ACL sustained last season, is hopeful that he will start camp by participating in individual drills. His primary goal is to be ready for the season opener at Pittsburgh Sept. 7.

“It’s very exciting knowing that I haven’t been able to play football in 8, 9 months,” Benjamin said.

Nicknamed ‘the rabbit’ by his teammates last year because of his elusiveness and speed, Benjamin hopes to pick up where he left off returning kicks, punts, catching passes and doing anything the coaching staff asks of him. He hasn’t lost a step.

“I haven’t lost any [speed] at all,” Benjamin said. “I feel I got even faster with [the injury].”

Championship Race – Haden said in an interview last week that the race is on between the Browns and the Cavs to break Cleveland’s championship drought.

Haden knows the Cavs got a leg up with the return of James.

“For us to get a championship, once the Browns do get a Super Bowl [title] here, it’s going to be bigger than me racing LeBron,” Haden said. “Once the Cleveland Browns get a championship it’s going to be so big. It’s going to be so big for the city, for everybody.

“I like the race. It just puts pressure on us to make sure we get it because I know LeBron’s doing his job to try and get a championship here.”

Haden noticed James’ announcement seemed to shoot life into fans and the city of Cleveland.

“Everybody can tell. I know I can tell,” Haden said. “This is the most hyped and most happy everybody [has been]. Everybody’s excited about sports, excited about the Cavs, excited about the Browns.”

Deal or No Deal? One of the most hotly contested debates since LeBron James agreed to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is should they trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love?

It’s a question that Haden struggled to find an answer to.

“That’s the thing,” Haden said, “we’re still having that debate. I don’t know. Everybody has their own opinion but whatever they do is best. It’s all positive. We get Love, we keep Wiggins…that’s a bad conflict and [tough to decide.]”

Family Day Full House – The Browns announced Thursday night that no tickets remain for the team’s ‘Family Day’ practice Aug. 2 at Infocision Stadium on the campus of the University of Akron.

It took only 10 hours to give out 25,000 tickets for the event after registration for it opened on Thursday.

“We are thrilled with our fans’ immediate response and that University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium will be an exciting, dynamic atmosphere for our players, coaches and phenomenal fans,” Browns President Alec Scheiner said in a statement. “We are striving to create memorable experiences for Browns fans, and certainly, along with engaging pre-game and postgame activities, our Family Day is shaping up to be a tremendous day for all involved.”

The Browns will also host 13 free public practices, which fans must also register to attend, at the team’s facility in Berea beginning on July 26.

Striking Out – Etching a K in the score book is hard to do in slow pitch softball but 92.3 The Fan afternoon anchor Anthony Lima accomplished the feat Thursday night. Lima along with Kiley and Booms producer J.G. Spooner represented the station in the game and played for the offense [orange] team.

Lima, a left handed fielder and batter, also struggled at third base before being moved and drawing boos from the crowd.

Spooner singled to third base in the second inning but failed to score from third on a fly ball to center. Unlike Lima, Spooner made contact in all of his plate appearances.

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