The Empire Barks Back

Now, it was Berea's turn to talk about yesterday's release of Kevin Johnson. Mike McLain was there, and brings us word from Carmen Policy, Butch Davis, Quincy Morgan (pictured), and Kelly Holcomb concerning the move. Get it first on

BEREA – Carmen Policy came out strongly in support of coach Butch Davis' decision to waive Kevin Johnson.

Policy said that the call was made because of Johnson's unwillingness to accept his role as a backup. Part of that role was helping the younger receivers.

"The decision was made that he (Johnson) should not be a starting receiver for the Cleveland Browns for the rest of the season," Policy said. "Once that decision was made, it was expected that Kevin would support that young corps of receivers as the second or third or fourth receiver the same way those young receivers supported him when he was in the number one position. He was unable to do that, and it was apparent he wouldn't be able to handle the new, albeit lower position and role he was expected to play.

"That having been recognized as a reality caused the coaching staff to feel that ultimately the team is better off with Kevin not a part of the process."

Policy became visibly angry when commenting on the manner in which Johnson talked about his demotion to reporters last week.

"I think he used the words ‘I,' ‘me' and ‘my' 30 times in that article," Policy said. "He used the word ‘we' once. It was all about his stats, and what he did and how he did it. He was loading his guns to come back at whatever the suggested criticisms might have been.

"It was an indication of why the coaches were so frustrated because in an effort to try to teach a student, the first thing you have to get from that student is acknowledgment that they have something to learn. It was almost to the point where the coach would try to explain what had to be done, and in response he'd get the reaction that I caught more balls than anyone else on the team. I don't think that's good for the player in question, it's certainly not good for the receiving corps, and it's definitely not good for the team."

Davis didn't add much more to what he said when he announced his decision to demote Johnson.

"After multiple conversations with position coaches, we talked about a variety of ways we could make this thing work," Davis said. "It just got to the point that both of us had came to the point that there was no other way.

"We tried benching him to see if less playing time would be a last resort. It went farther south than it had been living the other way. It's more important to have great chemistry. Coaches and players work hundreds of hours to do everything humanly possible. Guys need to know that the commitment is that way by everybody."

QUINCY'S RESPONSE: Quincy Morgan said he dropped a phone when he learned that Johnson had been cut. While saying he's close with Johnson and he respects Johnson's skills, Morgan sided with the organization at times.

"They gave KJ two years for him to correct what they wanted him to correct," Morgan said. "Nothing against KJ, but if you want the scoop, that's the scoop.

"You ask me questions if we're better with or without KJ. When you think about KJ's first two years, they were like 3-13 both years (2-14 in 1999). When has there ever been a good year with KJ? When it was just KJ, it was 3-13. Am I lying? But with a group of receivers, when we all came in and worked, we made it to the playoffs."

HOLCOMB BACKS THE BOSS: Quarterback Kelly Holcomb also took the side of the team. Holcomb noted that there are more things for a receiver to do than catch passes.

"There are other things that have to be done," Holcomb said. "Coach and the organization made a decision they thought had to be done, and we as players have to accept that.

"Kevin is going to be okay. He's going to go somewhere else and probably play. The name of the game is winning. We have to concentrate on Arizona and get a win. That's where our focus should be."

ROSTER MOVES: Tight end Steve Heiden and defensive tackle Alvin McKinley have been placed on injured-reserve and will miss the remainder of the season. Heiden has a high ankle sprain, and McKinley tore knee ligaments.

Fullback R.J. Bowers is wearing a boot to protect a high ankle sprain. His injury isn't considered serious.

Rookie running back Lee Suggs has been activated. Suggs had shoulder surgery in May and had been on the reserve-non-football-injury list.

In addition, defensive tackle Michael Myers, who was cut recently by Dallas, was added to the roster. Tight end Chad Mustard was signed to the active roster from the practice squad.

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