The film doesn't lie

The Browns aren't allowing the events of last Sunday to slip away without further review.

In fact, the Browns are more convinced than ever about their case that the officials did a poor job of managing play in the final seconds of a 15-10 loss to Jacksonville. They have film to prove it.

Film clearly showed that neither referee Terry McAulay didn't recognize that his beeper went off after Tim Couch spiked the ball with 48 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. McAulay said that he felt a sensation from his beeper prior to the play but was late in recognizing it.

McAulay called for a review of the play prior to Couch's spiking of the ball, resulting in his decision to overturn a first-down reception by Quincy Morgan on a fourth-and-2 play. The Browns contend that the review never should have been allowed because NFL rules state that a play can't be reviewed after another play is completed.

The NFL has defended the officials, saying that the beepers on McAulay and umpire Carl Paganelli went off simultaneously with the start of the play after Morgan's reception. Film taken by the Browns shows that Paganelli didn't respond to his beeper until after Couch had taken the snap and stepped back to spike the ball. McAulay didn't respond to his beeper until after Couch's spike.

What bothers Browns' management is that they have film to show that a similar situation in their overtime loss to Chicago went the opposite way. A replay observer called for a review on a sideline pass from Shane Matthews to Dez White, but referee Gerry Austin wouldn't allow the challenge because Matthews was able to spike the ball before his beeper sounded.

Expect Butch Davis to present film before the competition committee at the owners' meetings next March.

TOUGH LOSS: Since Ross Verba isn't talking to reporters these days, the best source of information about the former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman is his former coach. Packers coach Mike Sherman said he didn't want to lose Verba in free agency this year, but salary-cap restraints made it a necessity. Verba signed a four-year contract with the Browns on March 23.

"I was very close to Ross, and I wanted to keep him, but we didn't have the finances to do that," Sherman said. "That's the nature of free agency and the cap problems that exist at times."

CLAMPING DOWN: The Browns confirmed that eight fans involved in the beer-throwing incidents of last Sunday have been identified and charged. The Browns will revoke the season-ticket privileges of fans that can be identified among the culprits.

Four fans were arrested prior to the controversial final seconds, with another 10 being arrested after the incident.

INJURY REPORT: Browns running back James Jackson is out with an ankle problem, and defensive end Courtney Brown (ankle) is doubtful. Linebacker Tarek Saleh (hip) and H-back Aaron Shea (shoulder) are questionable, and cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (ankle) is probable.

Linebacker Chris Gizzi (back) is out for the Packers. Listed as questionable are nose tackle Gilbert Brown (toe); cornerback Allen Rossum (knee); defensive end John Thierry (knee), and linebacker Nate Wayne (back). Offensive tackle Earl Dotson (calf) and tight end Bubba Franks (ankle) are probable.


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