It will be an interesting offseason for running back Benjman Gay.
The darling of Browns' fans didn't distinguish himself well in the loss to Pittsburgh. It was Gay's fumble on the second-half kick off that resulted in a 32-yard return for a touchdown by Troy Edwards.
"I know one thing: I'm a way better man than I was before I got here," Gay said. "Football-wise, I have many more steps to go."
Gay was one of the biggest stories during training camp. Signed just before camp opened, Gay had played just one year of football (at Garden City Junior College) since finishing a stellar high school career in Texas. When he flashed signs of being able to get the job done, fans immediately jumped on his bandwagon.
Gay spent most of the season playing special teams because coach Butch Davis didn't think he was ready for extended action. That was the case Sunday. In addition to his fumble, Gay missed a blitzing Kendrell Bell on a play that led to a sack, and he was called for unnecessary roughness.
While Gay's future appears clouded, Davis expressed confidence in him.
"It was kind of mixed emotions," Davis said. "There were some successes and certainly some learning experiences. This kid now knows what it takes to be a professional football player. He's got a lot of things he has to do. He has to have a great offseason."
THEFT KINGS: With interceptions by Jackson, Devin Bush and Anthony Henry, the Browns established the team record for interceptions in a season with 33. The 1968 Browns had 32 thefts in a 14-game season. Henry's interception gave him 10 for his rookie season. He tied the team record set by safety Thom Darden in 1978.
NEXT YEAR: With the regular season complete, the Browns know their opponents for next season. They will host AFC North Division foes Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, along with Houston, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Carolina and Kansas City. Away games will be at Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Tennessee, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and the New York Jets.
DRAFT WINDS: By losing, the Browns may have significantly improved their position in the first round of the draft. Had the Browns won, they probably would have picked as low as 18th. The loss will probably slot them near the 12th spot.
STANDING STRONG: Rookie defensive tackle Gerard Warren continued his strong play down the stretch, despite playing on a line that lost ends Courtney Brown and Keith McKenzie, and tackle Orpheus Roye to injuries. Warren had six tackles, including one sack.
"There are some things that still need fine-tuning," Warren said. "Hopefully, I can come back and have a big season."
Warren showed the physical effects of playing in a rough game. He could barely put a watch on over his swollen left elbow. He also struggled bending over to put on his socks.