Another Starter Heads East

Another starter from the 2003 edition of the Cleveland Browns is leaving town. According to a report from ESPN's Len Pasquarelli, veteran offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara has signed a three-year deal with the New York Giants, marking the second defection of a veteran member of the Browns in as many days. O'Hara started thirty-eight games for the Browns since arriving as an undraft rookie in 2000. More...

For a team that claimed to be ready and willing to be active in the free agent market, the Browns are certainly going about it in a restrained way. The team has yet to sign any free agents, and has now lost the second player from 2003's starting lineup.

According to published reports, Browns offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara has signed a three-year deal with the New York Giants. Contract terms have not yet been disclosed. O'Hara was an unrestricted free agent following his fourth year with the Browns.

The signing of O'Hara follows a day after the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they had signed Browns punter Chris Gardocki to a five-year deal.

O'Hara was not drafted as an offensive lineman out of Rutgers, and was signed as a rookie free agent by the Browns in April, 2000. Distinguishing himself by his work ethic and desire to improve, O'Hara played his way into the starting line-up mid-way through the Browns' difficult 2000 season, starting four games at center. In 2001, O'Hara played in every game, starting four.

By the 2002 season, O'Hara had worked his way into the starting lineup at offensive guard, and would continue to replace Dave Wohlabaugh when the veteran center was injured. O'Hara started every game he played in 2002 and 2003, missing only two games this last season due to injuries suffered during a mid-season game against the Oakland Raiders.

The Browns, presumably, have been encouraged by the development of two of their younger offensive linemen, Enoch DeMar and Chad Beasely, during the 2003 season. DeMar, particularly, has been noted by the team as being a pleasant surprise. The Browns are also chasing veteran offensive lineman Ron Stone, recently released by the 49ers, and are believed to be targeting the upcoming NFL Draft in April as a means to upgrade the offensive line.

- AB

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