JUST SAY NO: Last week in this space, we told you to not be surprised if current Browns wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie received some attention as a potential offensive coordinator candidate.
That interest has already started to brew around the talented coach as Bernie's Insiders has learned that the Browns have denied the Vikings' request to speak to Robiskie regarding their vacant coordinator position.
Minnesota head coach Mike Tice faxed a request to Berea within the last week regarding Robiskie's availability, an action that was summarily rejected by the organization. Robiskie, who served as the OC of the Raiders in the late 80's and early 90's, is highly regarded around the league and will likely be a consideration for the new coaching staffs in Carolina, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Oakland if Jon Gruden is dealt for picks.
If current Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell lands a head-coaching gig -- probably the Chargers is his best opportunity -- look for Robiskie's name to pop-up prominently yet again.
GERMAN DIALECT: Lost in the shuffle of the Keith McKenzies and O.J. Santiagos of the Browns' unrestricted free agent world is Jammi German.
The wide receiver had started to become a quasi go-to guy on third down for quarterback Tim Couch. Need a tough catch in traffic? German was becoming that player, until a knee injury knocked him out for eight of the last ten games of the 2001 season.
Now, as the University of Miami product stands on the brink of unrestricted free agency, there is no doubt where he wants to be in 2002.
"Personally, [coming back to Cleveland] is what we want to pursue, and are going to pursue," German's agent, David Slutzker, told The Insiders. "Jammi wants to come back. He loves playing for Butch and wants to finish what he had started before the injury."
Slutzker last spoke with the Browns last week, with Davis' right-hand man, Pete Garcia, telling the agent that there is a chance that German will be donning a Browns uniform next season.
"From what I've been told, it's 50-50 that he'll be back. They're going to see what happens with the Texans and free agency and the draft, then make a decision as to what direction they will take regarding Jammi," Slutzker said.
Due to the injury, which German originally suffered during practice on October 30 and ultimately led to his being placed on injured reserve on December 6, the four-year veteran underwent surgery two weeks ago. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Uribe of Coral Gables performed the arthroscopic procedure, which helped alleviate -- WARNING! TECHNICAL MEDICAL PHRASE AHEAD -- "the bone rubbing up against things", Slutzker, who did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express, explained.
Slutzker added that the rehab is going well and that German will be ready to participate in the club's offseason program if he's re-signed.
BROWNS NOTE: Gilbert Thompson, agent for free agent defensive tackle Mark Smith, has informed The Insiders that he will meet with his client on Friday to "discuss his options", which includes a potential return to Cleveland. Smith, who signed a one-year deal on March 13 after spending four seasons in Arizona, is open to re-signing, with the Browns expected to reciprocate that interest. ... In a move that all but solidifies Jessie Armstead's availability to the Browns -- should they so desire -- this offseason, The Insiders has learned that the Giants have placed the linebacker on their unprotected list. A source close to Armstead emphatically stated that Armstead would be "more than open to joining Butch Davis in Cleveland", provided he's not taken in the expansion draft.
NORTH-SIDE TIDBITS: The deconstruction of the deposed World Champions has already begun as two league sources have confirmed to The Insiders that Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper will be taken by the Texans in February's expansion draft. The five-year veteran was an unrestricted free agent last offseason, but signed a five-year, $22 million contract in early April. Barring the unexpected -- like the LB failing a physical -- Houston will select Sharper in the dispersal draft, which will wipe Sharper's 2002 cap cost of $3.8 million off Baltimore's books. Sharper and teammate Jermaine Lewis were among the five players Baltimore placed on their unprotected list. ... Were you among those surprised by the fact that Cincinnati did not expose Akili Smith to the expansion draft? Simply put, the poster boy for quarterback busts would have been on The List if he were recovered enough from a torn hamstring. In order for a player to be eligible for the expansion draft, the player must be certified healthy by June 1. Smith's rehab and recovery from the injury and subsequent surgery will likely extend into the July start of training camp. ... Speaking of the Bengals and quarterbacks, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the team may sign yet another veteran free agent QB this offseason. This news comes on the heels of reports coming from southern Ohio that the team is intrigued by Illinois' Kurt Kittner and may look to select him in the second round of the 2002 draft. The Enquirer also strongly hinted that the team would be a player in the Drew Bledsoe trade derby.
MIFFED KITTY: As the football world reels from the quality big-name players available to the Texans, perhaps no one is reeling more than Jacksonville's Mark Brunell.
The quarterback's best friend and left-side protector, Tony Boselli, was left unprotected by the Jaguars, making the Pro Bowl offensive tackle eligible to be selected by the Texans in their expansion draft.
Additionally, there are rumors that Brunell may once again be hoisted atop the trading block. Given the circumstances surrounding the current situation in Jacksonville, particularly regarding Boselli, that may be a welcome option for Brunell.
"This [Boselli's name appearing on the unprotected list] has thrown Mark for a loop,"