UPDATE FRIDAY 9PM: Smith's agent, Bruce Tollner, called us this evening and corraborated the Browns' version of events. Tollner told us that his client is "100%" and ready to roll.
One day. Two stories.
This afternoon, the Browns informed Bernie's Insiders that Terrelle Smith is not injured. According to the team, their doctors are unaware of any injury to the team's new fullback, and Smith himself says that he is 100%. Repeated attempts by Bernie's Insiders to reach Smith through his agent were unsuccessful.
We also spoke again this afternoon with Steve King, who broke the story this morning in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. Steve has talked with the Browns and has also spoken several times today with his source for the story. Steve's source stands by his version of events, and Steve stands by his source.
Without breaking the trust and confidence placed in him, Steve explained to us that his source has no motive to fabricate a story about Terrelle Smith out of thin air and, in fact, was upset about the news.
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So, this is what we're left with. One version says that Smith isn't injured and didn't know where a story would come from. Another says that Smith hurt his back and was possibly heading for surgery.
As we mentioned earlier today in relaying the story, fans should exercise caution when leaping to conclusions when news is breaking. We've learned that over the years here at Bernie's Insiders and it's predecessors on the web.
We've seen both sides, the reporters and the team, both doing their jobs to the best of their ability, proven wrong from time to time.
We've even been wrong ourselves once or twice.
(Let's pause a moment to allow you to recover from the shock of my last statement)
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There is a common exercise in sociology, which I saw first in an introductory college psychology class, where a statement is whispered to one person. Then, that same statement is passed along in whispers between a series of people. By the time the tenth person or so is told the statement, it has generally been warped beyond recognition.
Another example. Assuming that you have a degree in rocket science or other advanced technical field, you may have successfully recorded a videotape from a TV show. When that tape is viewed, you notice that some quality is lost from the original. Then, if your friend copies that tape from your version, the quality is generally degraded even more.
The point is this: Information, when it passes from one source to another to another, generally degrades, often transforms, and sometimes is lost.*
I try to think of these situations whenever I see conflicting stories. Sometimes, two reports that might appear to be mutually exclusive, aren't.
Here's what I can tell you for sure: The Browns say Smith is fine. And we'll keep passing along every bit of news that we think is credible and of interest to Browns fans.
* Yes, information degrades even it has been digitized, especially so if I try to have anything to do with it.