The release of wide receiver Kevin Johnson earlier this week has been the talk in Cleveland and throughout the NFL. The timing, not the act, of releasing Johnson came as a surprise. Johnson, however, has on opinion on the things being said since his release:
"I really don't care what they (Davis and Carmen Policy) are saying, they know the truth. This stuff they are coming up with is (expletive), I got along with the guys there and the coaches. To hear them say that my man, Terry Robiskie was a part of this is (expletive), I know he did not agree with what they have done," Kevin Johnson said. "I worked hard and was not happy with the demotion, I did not feel it was warranted, but not once did I not support the guys (wide receivers). I was always talking with them. I know there were things they wanted me to do better, blocking, whatever, but he came out of nowhere and sits me down? Something wasn't right with all of this."
Portrayed to be a locker room ‘cancer' by those close to the Browns organization, Johnson really was not a problem to the majority of players he went to battle with on the gridiron.
"KJ (Johnson) wanted the ball and really was demanding. Being a player, you respect a player who believes highly in himself and his abilities. Once Couch was whisked from the starting job, you could sense something was a little different. Ultimately, the problem had become the coach - (Davis) did not like the way KJ presented himself and did not conform to the wishes of the coaching staff," one Cleveland Browns player told Bernies Insiders. "KJ always talked, that is his nature, but he was not a problem with the guys on the team. For the organization coming out and making comments which painted KJ as a problem player was not right."
"KJ signed that big contract and became too comfortable in his role and did not believe he was a player the team could afford to release. He put up good numbers, but he was Couch's favorite target and Couch is not the man in the huddle now nor is he the man that makes the decisions around here. Basically, when he (KJ) pretty much refused to do the things Davis wanted, he was done. The real story here is Davis is the head coach and he is putting together his team, some of the guys may not agree with his decisions or his manners of handling situations. But, he (Davis) has been pretty consistent in playing the best players."
With Johnson gone, second-year wide receiver Andre Davis steps into the role opposite of Quincy Morgan. Davis has the combination of size and speed Butch Davis believes is essential for this team to stretch a defense. In addition, the second-year receiver arguably may be the best route runner of the Browns receivers.
Sliding Davis into the starting role has gone over smoothly in the locker room from what we've been told, but free-agent-in-waiting, wide receiver Dennis Northcutt should benefit with his promotion to the number-three receiver. An underlying issue regarding Northcutt is the perception the team has overlooked him as a starting receiver in light of the Johnson release.
"Dennis (Northcutt) has shown the ability to be a starting quality receiver in this league. When watching the Browns play, Northcutt is a consistent player-maker, a player the team goes to in crunch-time," a source close to Northcutt said. "I'm not blowing smoke here because of our relationship with Dennis, but he should be starting and will be a starting receiver in this league. There are not many defensive backs in the game that can cover Dennis man-to-man with any consistency."