UPDATE 5:30PM: Here is the official statement from the team
STATEMENT FROM HEAD COACH BUTCH DAVIS REGARDING THE WAIVING OF WIDE RECEIVER KEVIN JOHNSON
"This is not a knee-jerk reaction. We have been trying for almost three seasons to help Kevin perform to the level of expectations we have had for him. I am disappointed our staff has not been able to get him to accept the expectations we have of how the wide receiver position should be played. Kevin had a diminished role in our offense, and he was not happy with it. We have a number of young, talented receivers in Quincy Morgan, Andre' Davis, Dennis Northcutt, Andre King, Frisman Jackson and C.J. Jones. As a result, we did not foresee Kevin's role expanding in the future. This will enable him to get a fresh start, and it will allow our young receivers to continue to develop and improve. We wish Kevin all the best."
UPDATE 5:15PM: The team has issued an official confirmation in the form of a statement from Head Coach Butch Davis. Davis offered via the statement that "This is not a knee-jerk reaction" and offered that the team has worked with Johnson for three years to "accept the expectations" that the team has for him.
Via the radio, Johnson stated that he was informed around 4PM this afternoon.
Johnson offered that he was completely surprised by the release, and that he
didn't see it coming. KJ says that he has already been contacted by other teams
and, as a vested veteran, has some flexibility where he will wind up. He did not
specifically state that he had been contacted by the Eagles, but many speculate
that there would be a significant interest by Donovan McNabb to reunite with his
favorite WR from Syracuse. Johnson told fans via the radio "Thanks for the
memories" and expressed his appreciation for the support of fans.
David Carducci and Lane Adkins both received word this afternoon that WR Kevin Johnson has been released by the Browns. KJ has reportedly confirmed those reports to local radio stations, but the team has not made any official announcement about any roster moves today, and has not confirmed the release to BerniesInsiders.com.
Johnson is the team's leading receiver this year, and has been a steady offensive producer since he was drafted in 1999. Despite his promotion by the Browns PR staff, and presence on the cover of the media guide, however, it has been clear that Johnson had become fallen into disfavor with head coach Butch Davis. It has been suggested that Johnson's approach to blocking, and a series other mistakes resulted in his benching last week. In addition, stories appeared recently in the local press from unnamed sources disparaging Johnson's off-field demeanor.
BerniesInsiders.com will have more information as it develops this afternoon and evening...