Comeback with Browns slowed for former Pro Bowl center Bentley

BEREA, Ohio -- LeCharles Bentley will not play this season for the Browns.

Cleveland's center, who has yet to play for his hometown Browns because of a serious knee injury, will remain on the reserve-physically unable to perform list, the team said on Tuesday.

The decision means Bentley is not eligible to practice or play for the remainder of this season.

The Browns remain hopeful that Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowler with New Orleans, will eventually resume his NFL career with them.

"As we've said all along, we want to give LeCharles the best opportunity for a successful return," Browns general manager Phil Savage said in a statement. "It is our belief that allowing him to continue his rehabilitation in preparation for 2008 training camp is the best way to do that."

Savage said Bentley, who will turn 28 on Wednesday, has made significant physical progress since July.

Bentley signed a six-year, $36 million free-agent contract on March 11, 2006, with the Browns. His dream of playing in front of family and friends ended quickly, though, when he tore his left patellar tendon on the first full-contact play of training camp that year. He hasn't played since.

Following surgery to repair the tendon, a staph infection attacked the knee and Bentley needed three more surgeries. Bentley has said that doctors considered amputating his leg.

Before this season, the Browns placed Bentley on the physically unable to perform list to give his surgically repaired knee more time to heal.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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