Telling it the way it is, separating fact and fiction, from what we've been told.

The talk over the past week has surrounded issues as to how the Browns would improve the team, free agency, and the 2002 NFL Draft.

While the season has just concluded, there is one bit of certantly that we are well aware of, the Cleveland Browns work has just begun.

Our talks with scouts and agents, we've been told that the Browns scouting department has been extremely active for months, scouting the high-profile college players and doing their homework on the small college players that could make a difference.

Issues along the offensive line remain a major concern for the Browns.

The offensive line, neglected in the past should be an area of focus this off-season. We've been told that the Browns are looking towards free agency to help solidify the offensive line. The 2002 NFL Draft will be an avenue the Browns take in adding potential starters and depth to this critical group.

An NFL scout tells us that the newly formed AFC North Division will be a very interesting and competitive division in 2002.

"This couldn't have happened at a better time for teams like Cincinnati and Cleveland," the scout said. "The Ravens will take a few steps back, the salary cap, internal issues, and age is catching up with them. Pittsburgh has had a season in which everything has gone right. Cincinnati is a much better team than their record, the defense is close and the offense is inexperienced."

Regarding the Browns, "Getting past the injury issues, that is going to be a tough team. They (Browns) need to add a capable middle linebacker, safety, and a tackle on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, a skilled, threat at wide receiver, improve the offensive line, possibly a running back, and a tight-end is all they really need to be viewed as a legitimate threat."

Players names are thrown around this time of year when talks about team needs are the issue. Wish-lists from fans and media members alike are interesting, we wonder if front-office executives have noticed the expert in all of us.

Telling it the way it is, the following short list of players, we've been told will be of interest to the Browns. Players can be 'officially' contacted by a team when the free agency period begins on March 1st.

Offensive linemen: Tarik Glenn (Indianapolis), Steve McKinney (Indianapolis), Larry Moore (Indianapolis), Chris Naeole (New Orleans), and Ron Stone (New York Giants).

Wide receivers: Michael Westbrook (Washington) and Donald Hayes (Carolina).

Tight-end: Stephen Alexander (Washington).

Defensive tackle: Lionel Dalton (Baltimore).

Middle linebackers: Jaime Duncan (Tampa Bay) and Adrain Ross (Cincinnati).

Safeties: Brian Walker (Miami), Kwammie Lassiter (Arizona), and Damon Moore (Philadelphia).

Paging Mr. Mr. Allister: During the 2001 NFL Draft, the Browns attempted to trade back into the first round to acquire running back Deuce McAllister. As we all know, they weren't successful. In a surprising move, the New Orleans Saints drafted the talented back.

What a difference a year has made. We've been told that an unhappy McAllister wants out of New Orleans and would welcome a trade, according to sources.

"He (McAllister) wants out of there (New Orleans), he (McAllister) has been taking the majority of the snaps in practice and doesn't get to play," the source tells Bernie's Insiders. "There are double standards within that team that he feels strongly against and there is turmoil within that he isn't comfortable with."

Stay tuned right here for much more on the McAllister saga.

The Coaching Carousel? NFL head coaches are on the hot-seat following the 2001 season more so than ever.

Every NFL opening will attach the name of former NFL quarterback and Florida Gators head coach Steve Spurrier to it.

Spurrier, was heavily recruited by the Washington Redskins prior to the 2001 season and that is again in the works.

The owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder is relentless in his pursuit and desire to land Spurrier. So much so, that he is willing to buy out the remaining three years of present Redskins head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

The cost to buy out Schottenheimer? He is owed 7.5 million dollars. The cost to lure Spurrier to the nations capital, between three and four million dollars a season.

Spurrier is also involved in dialogue with the Carolina Panthers.

Just telling it the way it is, we are hearing that former Browns and Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer isn't on the hot-seat, but rather standing on a volcano.

"We've been told" that Schottenheimer has offered to relinquish some minor control in player personnel matters, but refuses to buckle under to demands about replacing members of his coaching staff.

Usually a net is dropped to catch a tuna, down in Florida, it appears that the new was dropped over an organization and the Tuna is the hunter.

Rumors have circulated for over a year that Bill Parcells had an interest in coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, the rumors could come to fruition.

An uninspired effort by the Buccaneers in their wild card game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday will leave head coach Tony Dungy looking for a job, as soon as Monday.

Dungy, could surface as a front-runner for the head coaching job in Indianapolis.

While we are hearing that Parcells hasn't directly spoken with the Glazer family (Tampa Bay owners) in a dollars and cents manner, we've been told that representatives for Parcells have had lenghty discussions with the Glazier's regarding Parcells status and requirements to become a head coach again.

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