Fullback of the Future Already Here?

A lot has been said this off-season about the Browns need to find an NFL-level fullback. Perhaps, though, the Browns think that player is already on the roster. Lane, Mike, and AB talk about Ben Miller's potential, as well as other current topics such as William Green's return, Ron Wolf's status, and a possible solution at left tackle if the team can't land that "dominant" player they want.

Hamster:  How influential has Wolf been and will be? Would like to know if you think Wolf has already given some recommendations such as Todd Husak and how much truth can you see in the quote above? The article also claims Wolf helped in 01 when Butch cleaned house. Seems Butch values his opinion very much.

Lane Adkins: If and that is a big if Wolf joins as an advisor, his opinion and expertise will carry significant weight regarding the roster and player acquisition.

Mike McLain: If Ron Wolf joins the staff, he's not signing on so Butch can send him on a scouting trip to Mount Union.

He'll have a significant impact on decision making on many levels. I believe he'd play a big role in evaluating college players for the draft and will also help shape the team's philosophy in approaching free agents.

If what some ex-Browns say is true, the word is out that Butch isn't always a player's coach. I'm not so sure I believe what Earl Holmes and other cast offs have said, but it's worth studying.

If there is any truth to that, Wolf would be a great guy to bridge any gap between free agents and Butch. Wolf is respected throughout the league, and you can't put a price tag on what value he might have in sitting down with a free agent and sweet talking him.

Of course, the bottom line in dealing with free agents is money. If the Browns ante up enough cash, players will come to Cleveland.


Art Bietz: Wolf has a contract with the Packers that runs out in May. Everything in the NFL is negotiable, however, so the Browns may be able to work something out with the Packers. I would imagine that it helps that the teams are in different conferences and aren't scheduled to play each other again until 2009.

When dealing with someone of Wolf's stature and visibility, the Packers may be inclined to work something out rather than play a public game of hardball with a semi-retired executive.

According to recent reports, the Browns are optimistic that Wolf can be available to help with the draft.

Mossman: Is there any chance that LT Brad Hopkins escapes the Titans? Would he be a viable option if so?

Lane Adkins: Hopkins is one of many Tennessee players that could be facing a salary reduction or release. At this point in Hopkins career, he remains a better than average left tackle, and would only be a stop-gap measure.

Mike McLain: At this stage of his career, Hopkins wouldn't be a guy that I think the Browns would have an interest in. Butch wants to build the line through the draft. No matter what you might hear about Robert Gallery not being in the elite status of say a Jonathan Ogden, I'm convinced that the Browns like the guy and want to land him in the first round.

Olroy: Ben Miller- "A very very talented deep snapper" - Davis. Does anyone have an update on this kid? In a 2002 article it stated he would beeligible to play in 2004. They we're also grooming him for the fullback/h-back role which we have seemingly gone away from. I was surprised to read Davis praise him for his long snapping ability. Does he have a future here or not. At 6'3" he seems a little tall to play FB. Anybody have any more info on him?

Lane Adkins: This coaching staff and namely Butch Davis and Pete Garcia really like Ben Miller and when he is eligible to play (2004/2005? - not sure as of yet) he is a player they envision as a fullback type.

Mike McLain: From what I know, Butch really likes Miller. I believe he'll be eligible to play this year, which means he could land a spot on the roster. The Browns are determined to add a fullback to the mix. Miller is listed at 250 pounds, but at 6-3 the weight isn't distributed in a compact fashion.

I need to see more of Miller before naming him the man at fullback. He looks more like an H-back type of guy to me that will help on special teams. He'll be worth watching in training camp.

Art Bietz: Here's the word from the Air Force on Miller's commitment, according to one of their publications:

"As a 2002 Air Force Academy graduate, Miller has a five year service commitment. After two years on active duty, he can switch over to the reserves if he makes the Browns roster, but will triple his remaining service commitment in doing so. It is on the 2004 Cleveland Browns that Miller has set his sights."

OLROY: "Less than 50% chance Green will be back". This is a quote from a "reliable" source in Roger Brown's article today. Is this true? What, if anything have you guys heard regarding this situation?

Lane Adkins: I am hearing that the total demise of William Green in Cleveland may be a bit premature.

Mike McLain: In talking with Butch Davis about William Green late last season, he said he wished he knew if Green would be back in '04, but he didn't have a concrete answer because of the lack of contact he had with Green. At the time, he placed the odds at 50/50 that Green will be a Brown next season.

Art Bietz: One of the things we need to be clear on is whether we're asking if Green will be playing for the Browns at the start of the next season, or if he's going to cut/released.

It's always within the realm of possibility that he's not playing for the Browns at the start of next year, or all of next year, but the team holds onto him anyway.

One thing not often mentioned is that Green had a $4.1 million signing bonus in 2002. Cutting him would mean that the team has to absorb most of that on the 2004 cap. If they cut him after September, it would be spread out over two years, but that's an awful lot of dead money to absorb if you have a player with talent who may be capable of coming back.

Given that his salary is "only" $380 and $455K over the next two years, I would have a hard time envisioning the team booting him completely unless they were given some sort of cap reprieve by the NFL. I believe that the Browns are motivated for both talent and financial reasons to let this one play out as long as it takes.

The OBR Top Stories