Thoughts on Three Recent Stories...

Bernie offers his thoughts on three recent news stories around the Browns and the 2004 draft. Insight that you can only get from having been there, and that you can only get on Bernie's Insiders!

KJ on a Down and Out

When the Browns cut Kevin Johnson, a lot of people asked my opinion. I've certainly experienced the feeling.

KJ's situation and mine share a few commonalities. KJ was the leading receiver on the team. I was the starting quarterback on a team in first place. KJ was a veteran locker room presence. I like to think I was, too. KJ wasn't afraid to stand up for himself. Neither was I. Something was a little strange in regards to his dismissal. Ditto for mine 10 years ago.

There was more to my situation than met the public eye. It's a good bet the same can be said for the cutting of KJ.

I'm not going to tell you that Johnson was Jerry Rice because he wasn't. But, as Tennessee Titan head coach Jeff Fischer said in reference to the Browns¹ move: "That's a real good football player the Browns just let go." Fischer wondered what was going on in Cleveland and so should you. It's too bad.

Good luck KJ!

Green Seeing Red

William Green is currently serving a four-game suspension from the NFL for violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. He was absolutely wrong for driving while under the influence of alcohol and it's more than a little worrisome that he was found with marijuana in his possession.

It's concerning that the challenges that dogged him in college have surfaced again.

The Browns obviously felt Green was worth the risk though when they drafted him with their first pick two years ago and that's why they'll stay with him, support him and wait for his productive return to the team. He's the key to this offense though. He has a responsibility not only to himself but his teammates and you could make a case that he has let the Browns down.

Green is young. He has certainly made mistakes. Has he learned from them? At this point, we'd have to say no. Does that mean he should be crucified for what he has done? No. Let's give him another chance. Young people, athletes included, make wrong decisions from time to time.

Which brings me to my next topic.

School's In

Kellen Winslow Jr.'s outburst to the press following the University of Miami's loss to Tennessee was, presented in the best light, a poor choice of words.

To the point, Winslow was out of line. He lashed out at officials, opposing players and fans showing regard for no one. He also had unsportsmanlike penalties in back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Tennessee.

The fact that his team lost is a key point to remember in this observation. Before we go any further, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I do not condone irresponsible, immature or unsportsmanlike behavior at any time. I understand why it happens though and I ask you to consider the circumstances that often lead up to outbursts like Winslow's.

It's that hard-to-reach "switch" that I've talked about before.

A football player has been trained, both physically and mentally, to play with a state-of-mind that teeters on the line between under-control and out-of-control. To walk off the football field and in a matter of moments have to "switch" your mindset from frenzy to calm is sometimes impossible.

Again, I'm not defending Winslow's actions. I'm just trying to shed some light on how these types of situations happen.

Bryan Cox was a very good football player, but a lot of fans and media members saw him as a person to loathe. His on the field, on the sideline and in the lockerroom blow-ups have been well documented over the years.

I know Bryan Cox. I like Bryan and I find him to be a fine person. I loved his commitment to winning. That's what I like about Winslow.

Cox had a hard time flicking the "switch" off. Winslow will hopefully learn his lesson. I was impressed when Winslow apologized to his teammates, his university, his opponent and the fans. He didn't hide behind the "I was misquoted" shield. He didn't deny his comments and say they were taken out of context. He simply said he screwed up and he was sorry. That's a big step toward maturity.

I always loved to have players on my team who were totally committed to winning. I love players who hate to lose. I love players whose distaste for a loss eats at them. Show me a guy like that and I'll take him on my team.

Frankly, I think a lot of players have lost that edge.

It is an edge. Sometimes, players fall off the edge and ugly and regrettable situations occur.


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