BEREA, Ohio -- Notes from Browns camp, July 30

By now, the Gary Baxter story has been told to lengths as exhaustive as his recovery work.   An important chapter got written Monday, though, when the Browns’ injury-tortured cornerback suited up for the first time since October.   “I’ve been building a bridge for a long time now,” Baxter said. “It was time to cross it.”   Baxter walked onto the field at 5:34 p.m. to applause from teammates and Browns employees and some woofs from spectators.   The 28-year-old is coming off surgery to repair patellar tendons that blew out in each knee on the same play. He participated in individual drills, including backpedaling and cutting to the ball, but not 7 vs. 7 or 11 vs. 11 sessions.   The perception that he won’t play this year remains popular. Baxter remains of the mindset: “You’re all wrong.”   “I said when I first got out of the hospital I’d play this year,” Baxter said. “I’m staying true to that.”   Baxter said he feels fast. He isn’t wearing braces.   “My knees feel so good that it’s almost scary,” he said. “I’m playing, cutting, turning, twisting. You saw me do all that. There’s nothing I can’t do.”   The medical people, he said, “scratch their heads and say wow.”   Baxter was a No. 62 overall pick by Baltimore in 2001. He emerged as a starting safety before moving to cornerback with the Ravens, then signed a rich free agency contract with the Browns in 2005.   Cleveland got just eight games out of him in two years. His ’05 season was wrecked by a pectoral injury that flared up again in 2006 before the double patellar disaster.   The Browns went into last year counting on Baxter, Leigh Bodden and Daylon McCutcheon as a strong cornerback threesome. Baxter played three games. Ankle woes limited Bodden to nine games. McCutcheon didn’t play at all.   “We ran into all sorts of problems,” General Manager Phil Savage said. “Now? In addition to Leigh Bodden, you have Gary Baxter coming off the injury. You have Daven Holly, Eric Wright, Kenny Wright, Brandon McDonald, DeMario Minter, Jereme Perry and Therrian Fontenot.   “It is going to be interesting to see who emerges. The second, third and fourth corners proved to be a big difference in some of our games last year.”   Frye Warms Up   Charlie Frye might have added a notch to his “leg up” on Derek Anderson in the race to be the No. 1 quarterback.   “I think I’ve made a lot of strides since (spring practice),” Frye said. “I have a better understanding with what’s going on the field and what Chud (coordinator Rob Chudzinski) wants. I have a lot more confidence in my abilities, and that will carry over into the preseason and the season.”   Frye wrote off two interceptions as “miscommunications with receivers.” He elaborated on an offseason training program in Arizona, where he worked out with Eagles QB Donovan McNabb and others.   “It was kind of like an old-school, Rocky Balboa gym,” he said. “We did everything from boxing, running and throwing.   “They said if it weren’t for my football career, I would be the next Muhammad Ali. My feet are a little too heavy for boxing. You go one round in the ring, and it feels like four quarters of football.”   Extra Points   - Crennel seems pleased with Frye’s absorption of a new offense. “He seems to be grasping it pretty good,” Crennel said. “You don’t see him screwing up a tremendous amount. They all screw up some, because it is new and that’s going to happen. We’re pushing them. We’re trying to make them go up-tempo, to make them think fast.”   - It didn’t take long for the Browns to give No. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas a healthy dose of time with the No. 1 offense. In Monday’s morning session, Thomas played several downs at left tackle with the first team. Incumbent left tackle Kevin Shaffer moved to right tackle. Veteran right tackle Ryan Tucker slid to right guard.   - Bodden isn’t fully recovered from arthroscopic surgery to repair ankle damage that spoiled his 2006 season. Both Bodden and Crennel say he should be full go for the season. “I’m close to 100 percent,” Bodden said. “I’m not quite there yet.”   - Round 7 pick Syndric Steptoe made the catch of camp Monday, an acrobatic one-handed snag near the end of Monday night’s practice.   Canton (Ohio) Repository   Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or