Swerb: A Sad State of Affairs

Rich takes a look at the Browns current front office mess...

What a sad state of affairs.

Watching the rapid decadence of this franchise has this Browns fan incensed beyond belief.  And it just keeps getting worse.  The latest news out of Berea showed us all that this organization doesn't even have the capacity to fire someone correctly.

Make no mistake; the smattering of contrasting reports out of Berea Tuesday amounted to one thing and one thing only:  a failed attempt by Randy Lerner and John Collins to buy the remaining two years of Butch's contract.

Butch is owed between 10 and 12.5 million over the next two seasons.  If he refuses to resign, continues to commandeer this sinking ship, and simply waits for the hammer to drop … he will collect all of that coin.  Randy and Collins are trying to convince Butch to agree to a negotiated buyout, which would free him up to pursue potential job openings in Gainesville and possibly Austin.

There are a couple problems with that plan from the Browns end.  One, Butch has an agent … Marvin Demoff, who also represents Junior Seau, Corey Dillon, Julius Peppers, and Dan Marino. 

Secondly, it's unlikely Florida or potentially Texas will look to interview candidates until after their bowls, and after the Browns season mercifully ends on January 2nd at Houston.  In addition, the LSU job could open up around that time if Nick Saban is lured here or elsewhere.

Knowing all of this, it makes no sense for Butch to take Randy's Just Go Away Money, which was likely much less than the 12 million he would collect otherwise.  Even in a worst case scenario that sees Florida fill it's post, and LSU and Texas stay with Saban and Mack Brown, Butch can take a year off a la Steve Spurrier, count Randy's money, and patiently wait foe next year's slew of major college coaching openings.

Here's some free advice Randy.  Write the check, regardless of what it costs you.  Anything less than the 12 million owed will end up saving you money at seasons end.  The fans are begging you to allow us to move forward after your experiment to fire everyone but a coach who had proved nothing blew up in your face.  If the players could talk on this, they'd say the same thing.  Butch's departure is inevitable, and lame duck is a dish these fans do not deserve after what we've been through since 1999.

Possibly even sadder than this depressing tale was the lame statement released yesterday by the team.  In case any of you missed this lightning rod of excitement, here it is:

"The Cleveland Browns organization is acutely aware of our fans' passion and share in their desire for a championship team. We acknowledge the disappointment and frustration with this season's record.

"In response to a variety of media reports, we reiterate that we are keeping our organization intact in order to focus our efforts toward winning our remaining football games.

"Our commitment to Cleveland, and to winning, remain our only priorities."

-Cleveland Browns Media Relations Department

I find it so sad that our storied and beloved Browns franchise has been reduced to releasing such a pathetic and generic canned statement.

Not even "Sincerely, Randy Lerner" at the end. Just a lame paragraph of meaningless junk from the media relations department.

As much as I loathed Conman Policy ... at least he was a living breathing human being that spoke on behalf of this franchise. Sure, his statements were carefully crafted and full of shit half the time, but at least there was some sort of spokesman.

After a gutting of the franchise this off-season, we are left with a trio of nincompoops, none of whom are willing to give fans the straight skinny on anything.

We have a shell shocked newbie owner who lives in New York, doesn't talk to the media, and is probably now scared to show his face in town. A team President / CEO who was handpicked by said owner, never played the game, and knows nothing about personnel or the actual game of football itself. And a head coach that is a battered shell of his former self, who has been shamefully reduced to nervously mumbling crap every week about how the team "fought its guts out".

Is it asking too much for this organization to hire someone we trust to tell us the truth as to what is really transpiring with the football team we pour our emotions and dollars into?

The breaking point for me was Butch's comments last week about the "organization getting rid of 8-9 executives and not replacing them" and him "being in favor of anyone that can help this team win" were so hypocritical based on the reality of what transpired this off-season ... I wanted to scream.  As soon as he muttered those words, just one thought came to my mind.

We deserve better.  And we should demand better.  Not only from the head coach, but from the owner on down.

Who would have known how right Sean Salisbury actually was.

Rich Swerbinsky
swerb@berniesinsiders.com



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