BEREA - Browns coach Butch Davis admitted Thursday that the organization hasn't done a good enough job in keeping the past alive.
"One of the major struggles with this organization and this team is a lack of a sense of the history of the Cleveland Browns," Davis said. "With the exception of very few teams, every staff that coached in the NFL, you walked into the locker room and you inherit guys that are former players. They help you connect to the past."
Davis and team President Carmen Policy met with 15 former Browns players last Tuesday. The discussion dealt with ways the team can make former players a bigger part of the organization.
"Not just a token approach like bringing them back to be part of the pre-game coin toss once a year," Davis said. "Legitimately make them feel welcome. Encourage them to come back and be a part because we need that for these young players."
Davis said it must have been difficult for former coach Chris
Palmer when he took over the reins in 1999. As the coach of an expansion team,
Palmer took over a team that hadn't played a game since the 1995 season.
REMEMBERING #14: The Browns on Sunday will honor the memory of Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham, who died Wednesday at the age of 82. Graham's number 14 will be on the left, rear side of each player's helmet. A moment of silence and a video tribute to Graham will be shown on the big screens at Cleveland Browns Stadium prior to kick off of a game against the Baltimore Ravens.
SNUBBED AGAIN: The Pro Bowl selections were announced Thursday, but the Browns didn't have a player named as a starter or an alternate. The only Brown to make the Pro Bowl since 1999 was linebacker Jamir Miller in 2001.
The Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs had the most players selected with eight each. The Philadelphia Eagles had the most selections in the NFC with five.
- The Ravens will be the Browns' ninth opponent out of 15 this season currently with a winning record. Browns' opponents have a combined record of 113-97.
- The initial players' schedule for next week had the team practicing on Christmas Day. A revised schedule released Thursday gives the players Christmas Day off. Davis said the initial schedule was released without his approval. He never intended for the players to practice on Christmas.
- Davis said that he'd like offensive lineman Barry Stokes to
return next season. Stokes, who's in the final year of a contract, expressed
his desire to return. Stokes said that no matter what happens here, he thinks
he's proven he can be a starter in this league.
Stokes spent one week with the second team at left guard during training camp. When an experiment with Melvin Fowler at left guard didn't work out, Stokes returned to the starting lineup. He moved to left tackle when Ross Verba tore biceps tendons in a preseason game against Atlanta.
- Davis said he's not surprised that the players haven't
quit. The key in his opinion is to keep expectations realistic.
"You prevent it before it ever happens by the type of players you have on your team and their expectations and the things you talk about during the season," Davis said. "If you say that anything short of the Super Bowl is a total failure, you're setting yourself up to expectations that are hard to live up to. When expectations are out of reality, players become disheartened more easily."