Levine: Let's Move On

Over time, perhaps we all begin to believe the hype, or the spin, or whatever you want to call it. Les Levine talks about the value of some of the Browns cast-offs, or almost-cast-offs, in today's column. More independent opinion from the people who cover the team and interact with the fans...

Numerous callers to my television talk show have expressed their surprise that the most the Browns might be able to get for Gerard Warren is a fourth round pick from Denver.  Their concern is that you should be able to get more for a guy who was the third pick in the draft, and is still young enough to have several playing years ahead of him.

If Warren played to the level of a third pick, the Browns would be thrilled to keep him.   For starters, he was picked higher than expected.   Almost everyone in the Browns draft room expected Richard Seymour to be the pick, until Butch Davis and Pete Garcia decided differently just hours before the draft.  Secondly, if you watched Warren play over the years, and didn't know how high he was picked, you wouldn't think too much of him.

If somebody wants to offer the Browns a fourth round pick, they have no choice but to accept it.  Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel have given lip service to Warren, as well as William Green, saying they would be happy to keep them if there were no offers out on the table, but you know they didn't mean it.  If they really wanted these guys, they wouldn't take a chance on losing them.

It's the same with Kelly Holcomb.  If they were completely sold on him as the starting QB, they would have struck a deal.  I've got to believe that Holcomb and his agent are going to be in for a surprise when they don't find anybody knocking down their doors with the kind of deal and guaranteed starting position that they were looking for in Cleveland.


Now that Butch Davis and Jeff Garcia are gone, and Holcomb appears on his way out,  an ugly chapter in Browns quarterback history is over.  The only winner is Tim Couch, who earlier this week married long-time girl friend Heather Kozar, the 1999 Playmate of the Year.  It might be hard to lure top-flight free agent QBs to Cleveland, but it wouldn't hurt to let them know that Playboy Playmates seem to like this place.

On a serious note, it is unfair to say that all of the Number One Draft picks since the expansion year have been failures (excluding Kellen Winslow, Jr.).  If Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, William Green and Jeff Faine performed anywhere near the level that Couch performed (leading the Browns to the 2002 playoffs), this franchise would be in much better shape.  To buy into Butch Davis' logic that Couch wasn't the right guy, you'd also have to believe him when he said Holcomb was better, followed by Garcia who was alleged to be even better.  All of the Couch-bashers should agree that he never should have been replaced by either Holcomb or Garcia.

The legacy of Butch Davis can be summed in the the four bad drafts, along with a terrible mishandling of the quarterback position.

Eric Mangini cited loyalty to Bill Belichick as one of the main reasons he chose to stay in New England, replacing Crennel as Defensive Coordinator.  The Patriots didn't show similar loyalty to Troy Brown, who was asked to play both ways, giving up incentive clauses tied in to offensive numbers.  Brown was released by the Patriots.  The Browns could use Brown on either side of the ball this year.  You remember when Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark brought over almost anyone who had ties to the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 and 2000.  Most of those guys were through by then.  Former Patriots like Troy Brown and Ty Law should have plenty left, and nobody will blame Crennel if he tried to convince either or both to come to Cleveland.

‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen M-F from 6-7pm with replays at 11pm on Adelphia Channel 15.  E-mail msandll@aol.com or www.leslevine.com


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