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Seminole's Jackson honored



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BEREA, Ohio — In May, Browns coach Pat Shurmur was asked if the team had a dominant middle linebacker to lead its new 4-3 defense.

The crowd of about 320 people roared in laughter after Shurmur responded that the Browns did indeed have a player who fit the description.

Three games into the season, even the skeptics have to concede that Shurmur was rather prophetic.

Browns middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was named AFC defensive player of the month for September on Thursday, marking the beginning of a remarkable comeback.

In the past two years, the former Seminole High standout has torn both pectoral muscles and missed 26 consecutive games.

But Shurmur and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron pegged Jackson as the team's middle linebacker.

"What I learned about him was basically during training camp when I watched him take care of his business," Shurmur said. "He made very few mistakes. He helped get guys lined up. He was very good at stopping the run as well as playing the pass. Just being around him, you see those things."

Jackson has 30 tackles, 2½ sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, helping to lead the Browns to a 2-1 start.

His tackles are tied for fourth in the NFL and his sacks rank second among all AFC linebackers and are tied for fourth in the conference.

"It doesn't surprise me that he's playing at an extremely high level," Shurmur said. "I expected it based on what I've learned about him in the last few months."

"Very nice,'' Jackson, 28, said of the first award of his six-year career.

General manager Tom Heckert said Jackson is among players he's looking to sign to extensions. For the Largo native, the feeling is mutual.

"All I've known is Cleveland," said Jackson, a second-round pick out of Maryland in 2006. "I don't want to move, I don't want to pick up and leave and go somewhere else and start all over. It would mean a lot to stay in Cleveland."

HGH testing: Congress is stepping up efforts to push the NFL and its players toward an agreement on testing for human growth hormone. Leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee invited commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and the chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to a meeting. The invitation is voluntary and not a subpoena. No date has been set. Blood testing for HGH was part of the collective bargaining deal struck over the summer, but only if the union agreed to the methods. The union has asked for more information about the process and questioned the safety and reliability of the test.

Cowboys: Quarterback Tony Romo will wear a protective vest for a second straight game Sunday against the Lions and plans to get a pain-killing shot. He said a fractured rib and punctured lung continue to improve.

Eagles: In a second straight week of linebacker shake-ups, embattled rookie Casey Matthews will be replaced by rookie Brian Rolle. "Every time I was in there, you heard my name, so the coaches must have seen that light and thought I needed to be on the field more," Rolle said.

Giants: Defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month, practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day and appears ready for his season debut at Arizona on Sunday. Receiver Hakeem Nicks (swollen knee) did not practice but said he will play.

Jets: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie returned to practice four days after suffering a bruised lung and ribs in a loss at Oakland. "I feel good now, but after the game, I felt like a fish out of water," the former Seminole said. "I really couldn't breathe.'' Center Nick Mangold was in full uniform for the first time since his high right-ankle sprain against Jacksonville two weeks ago. He could be a game-time decision Sunday in Baltimore.

Seminole's Jackson honored 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 9:18pm]
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