BEREA – Butch Davis refused to talk about his job security Wednesday, and owner Randy Lerner wasn't anywhere to be seen by reporters.
However, team president John Collins did talk briefly with the media after practice. Collins reiterated the team's statement Tuesday that Davis will remain on as coach for a least the final six games of the season.
"The Browns' organization and Randy Lerner have consistently said that Butch is our coach," Collins said. "Going back a few weeks when questions were raised, Randy said that we're supporting our coach. Despite all the reports, that's been the stance of the organization, and it hasn't changed."
Davis addressed the situation with the team prior to Wednesday's practice, but he had no comments for the media. The players left the meeting feeling reassured that there won't be a change at the top until at least the end of the season.
"He made the right points, and the guys knew where he was coming from," tight end Aaron Shea said. "He's our coach right now. As far as I know, he'll be our coach until I'm told otherwise."
Collins said that it's possible Davis could be with the team next season. That would depend on a variety of factors.
"The ultimate judgment is how well the plan is going," Collins said. "How all the constituents – our fans, the media and our business partners – buy into our plan. Do people see progress? Do they buy into it? Are they excited about it? If we're not showing progress and people aren't buying into the plan, then we have a problem."
The players now must deal with trying to find a reason to play. The distraction involving Davis can't help.
"If you allow it to be a distraction, it certainly will be a distraction," quarterback Kelly Holcomb said. "Our jobs are to win football games. The only thing we can control is what we do on Sunday. That's what everyone in this locker room is doing."
HOLCOMB TO START: Holcomb will start at quarterback Sunday when the Browns play the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Jeff Garcia wasn't able to practice Wednesday. He said his shoulder has improved slightly, but he's still not able to throw a ball with much velocity.
"It basically has created or caused a weakening effect, and until those muscles and ligaments strengthen themselves up and tighten up, it's just one of those things where the strength is not even near 100 percent and not even in a position for me to make a throw," Garcia said. "I'm pretty much close to my full range of motion, but it's very slow and somewhat of a tender movement. It's not in a position to be where I can put any strain on it."
Rookie Luke McCown, who's been the third quarterback in all 10 games, will be the backup.
ECHEMANDU GETS REPS: Neither of the primary running backs practiced Wednesday. William Green, who was visiting his daughter in Philadelphia Tuesday, was caught in the holiday travel mess and couldn't get a flight to Cleveland in time for practice. Suggs has a sore toe.
ROSTER MOVES: The Browns signed fullback Kris Briggs and linebacker Andre Sommersell to the practice squad. Defensive back Christian Morton was waived from the practice squad, and the Washington Redskins signed linebacker Chris Clemons to their active roster from the Browns' practice squad.
Sommersell was drafted by Oakland in the seventh round this year. The Raiders waived him Aug. 31. Briggs was waived from Denver's practice squad Nov. 26.
Bengals cornerback Rashad Bauman (Achilles) is doubtful. Listed as questionable are cornerback Deltha O'Neal (elbow) and defensive end Carl Powell (knee). Listed as probable are offensive tackle Willie Anderson (knee); linebacker Caleb Miller (ankle); H-back Chris Perry (abdomen); tight end Matt Schobel (groin); receiver Kelly Washington (shoulder) and H-back Kenny Watson (calf).