Levine: First Glitch on the Honeymoon

Reuben Droughns makes about a million dollars a year. While this would be a lot for most folks, it apparently is not what he and his agent feels he should be paid, leading a challenging situation for the Browns new braintrust. Les Levine takes a look at the situation...

The image of the Cleveland Browns has drastically improved over the past couple of months, now that GM Phil Savage and Coach Romeo Crennel have taken over.  With the signing of ten free agents, all in positions of need, what appears to be a successful draft, and a new-found belief in the ability of the front office, numerous fans have told me that they have returned to the fold after a long hiatus.  Except for concern of the return to full health by Kellen Winslow, Jr., (the Browns deny any problem) nothing negative has come out of Berea in the last couple of months.  Until today.

News comes out today that newly acquired running back Reuben Droughns left Cleveland over two weeks ago, at the suggestion of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.  Droughns is currently under contract for the next two years at around a million dollars a year, but he wants to re-negotiate.

I guess I can't blame him for trying, but I can't blame the Browns for reminding him that he is under contract.  There should be no wiggle room here.  Let's assume Droughns wants another million per year.  Had he been under that contract in Denver, he probably wouldn't have been as attractive to them as we turned out to be.  Unlike the bidding war involved in adding free agents, Droughns' existing two-year deal was part of his attractiveness, allowing the Browns to trade Defensive Lineman Ebenezer Ekuban.

This is the first ‘problem' that Savage and Crennel have faced in Cleveland.  The other players working out in the off-season conditioning programs will be watching, especially to see how Crennel handles his first personnel problem as head coach.  Will Droughns be welcomed back with open arms, which would let other players know that they might be able to bend the rules a little bit?  Or will Crennel and Savage take a stand?

Stay tuned.

I doubt that Butch Davis would have chosen Michigan's Braylon Edwards with the third pick in this year's draft.  Two things were against that.  First, the position of wide receiver, because of the history of few successes that early in the draft.  And, secondly, Michigan---more generally the Big Ten.  Davis clearly downplayed anyone from the Big Ten, especially at skilled positions, and obviously felt more comfortable with players from Florida, or ones that he previously recruited.  At this point, five years after he left Miami, there would have been none of those players left to choose from.

I don't understand the criticism that Michigan never has produced great wide receivers.  I could argue that Anthony Carter was a good one, and Desmond Howard won a Heisman and was MVP of a Super Bowl.  And there have been others.  But why should Edwards be held accountable for what happened in Ann Arbor in the past.  That is very similar to the criticism of Duke basketball, which didn't really produce great NBA players until Grant Hill showed up.  Danny Ferry was always the poster-boy for that argument, but it is ridiculous.  For years the wide receiver argument could have been made for Ohio State players, but recent history has changed that.

At this time I can't predict a great career for Edwards, even though I was hoping he would be the choice of the Browns.  But if he doesn't succeed, it will have nothing to do with the fact that he came from Michigan.

‘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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