CLEVELAND — With their future quarterback watching and waiting, Cleveland’s two leading QBs moved their fight to be the Browns’ starter to the exhibition season.
Round 1 belonged to Charlie Frye.
Rookie Brady Quinn stood with a clipboard and studied Cleveland’s playbook during his first NFL preseason game, a 16-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, who have some quarterback issues of their own to sort out.
Phil Dawson kicked three field goals for the Browns, who trailed 12-9 after Kansas City’s Justin Medlock kicked a 42-yarder with 1:48 left.
But Cleveland’s Chris Barclay returned Medlock’s ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, and the Browns recovered a fumble inside their 20 to seal it in the final seconds.
Quinn, a first-round draft pick, missed 12 days of training camp in a contract holdout before signing a five-year, $20 million contract on Wednesday.
His absence probably cost Quinn any chance of starting the Sept. 9 season opener against Pittsburgh, but unless Frye or Derek Anderson steps up, it may not be long before the former Notre Dame star is calling signals.
For now, Quinn’s listed behind Frye, Anderson and even Ken Dorsey on the Browns’ depth chart, which could undergo several revisions in the months ahead.
Frye finished 12-of-15 for 122 yards. He made several strong throws downfield, but those positive plays were overshadowed by two bad ones.
Frye had a botched swing pass in the backfield returned 56 yards for a touchdown by Kansas City’s Benny Sapp in the first half.
And moments later, Frye’s mismanagement of the clock in the closing seconds cost Cleveland points.
Anderson went 7-of-16 for 76 yards, underthrew several passes and never seemed to get into a rhythm.
Kansas City, too, is looking for a starting quarterback and neither Brodie Croyle nor Damon Huard looked as if they want the job.
Croyle, a third-round pick last season, got the start from coach Herm Edwards and went 5-of-8 for 49 yards with one interception.
Huard, who led the Chiefs to a playoff berth last season after Trent Green sustained a serious concussion, was just 2-of-4 for 19 yards and also threw a pick.