KJ: Not Sitting Quietly

Kevin Johnson isn't real happy with the recent turn of evenings in Berea, and today he talked about it. Mike McLain brings us the story...<BR>

BEREA – Kevin Johnson and Butch Davis didn't have much of a conversation when Davis informed the receiver that he had been benched in favor of Andre Davis.

According to Johnson's estimation, the talk lasted about four seconds.

Johnson used a lot more than four seconds to defend himself in the wake of the news that he won't be in the starting lineup against Kansas City.

"This is coach Davis' team, and he's going to run this team the way he wants to," Johnson said. "I don't want to cause a problem and cause a distraction. The guys in the locker room respect me for what I do. These guys know what type of guy I am and what type of player I am.

"I know I'm going to start in this league, whether it's here or somewhere else. My numbers speak themselves. I've been making plays from the time I got here. I've been the number one receiver here. Everything speaks for itself."

Johnson led the Browns in receptions in each of the last four seasons, including 84 catches for 1,097 yards and nine touchdowns in 2001. His career totals entering this season were 274 receptions for 3,455 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Davis didn't elaborate on the reasons why he benched Johnson. It's known that Davis doesn't like Johnson's blocking skills, and his route running has come into question.

"I can't sit here and say that I'm the best blocker in the league, and I won't say that I'm the worst blocker in the league," Johnson said. "Is that something I need to work on? Yes."

Quarterback Tim Couch came out solidly in Johnson's corner.

"Obviously, he's upset, and he has a right to be," Couch said. "He's been the leading receiver on this team going on five years. He's made play after play, and he's leading us this year (with 40 receptions). It's a tough situation. It's a hard thing to deal with."

Johnson admitted that he didn't play well in the Browns' loss to San Diego, which included a drop on a fourth-down pass late in the game.

"KJ went out and said he had a couple of bad plays against San Diego," Couch said. "Everybody has a couple of bad plays here and there. KJ has been our most consistent guy over the last five years. He's started every game and led our team in receptions. He's a hard guy to see on the bench."

ROSTER MOVES APLENTY: Fullback R.J. Bowers has been placed on the active roster. Bowers had been on the non-football-injury list from a knee injury he suffered when lifting weights before training camp opened.

Tight end Chad Mustard was waived to make room for Bowers. Mustard was then signed to the practice squad. Offensive lineman Ben Claxton was waived from the practice squad.

VERMEIL RESISTS THE BAIT: Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil can't be surprised that Browns coach Butch Davis has benched receiver Kevin Johnson. When the Browns talked about trading Johnson to the Chiefs following the 2001 season, Vermeil nixed the idea because he didn't think Johnson was worth a second-round draft pick.

"I never evaluate another coach's move," Vermeil said. "I'm sure he had good reasons for it. All coaches do what they think is best for the football team. I had reasons for not giving up that high of a draft choice. Whether they're sound or not doesn't matter. I know this: He's an outstanding football player."

THE SUGGS SITUATION: A roster decision will have to be made on rookie running back Lee Suggs in less than two weeks. Suggs had shoulder surgery last May and is on the non-football-injury list.

"He's obviously a lot further behind than a guy like R.J., who was on the team and has played in games," Davis said. "He (Suggs) hasn't played in one, single game. Until last Monday (a week ago), the last time he had pads on was last season at Virginia Tech. He hasn't hit anybody, and he hasn't gotten hit. He's a work in progress.

"The other thing is that we're trying to find, without beating him up, if the surgery worked. Can he actually take on a linebacker in a blitz protection type of deal? We worked on some of that today some in practice." 

Offensive tackle Barry Stokes is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. Look for Chad Beasley to perhaps start instead of Joaquin Gonzalez. Listed as questionable are Beasley (toe), center Jeff Faine (knee) and guard Shaun O'Hara (knee).

Probables are cornerback Lewis Sanders (groin), linebacker Sherrod Coates (ankle), Couch (thumb), tight end Steve Heiden (knee) and quarterback Kelly Holcomb (ankle).

For the Chiefs, linebacker Fred Jones (foot) and linebacker Mike Maslowski (knee) are questionable. Listed as probable are cornerback Julian Battle (hamstring) and defensive tackle John Browning (shoulder).

The OBR Top Stories