Random Thoughts from a Wasted Mind

Kellen, Reuben, Bud, and players long gone occupy a wasted mind this week, as Dale Galbraith offers his thoughts on the top subjects of the week.

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The Chosen One

Kellen Winslow's NFL career to date, 5 catches for 50 yards without a TD in 2 games. Not a very stellar start for the self proclaimed "Chosen One." Winslow will turn 22 this July. Just a kid and kids will make mistakes. But when a kid puts his signature on a multi year, multi million dollar contract, he loses his kid status.

Winslow made this comment on his first day on the job last summer, "I just wanted to get my fair market value. I was the sixth pick, but I was in an elite group,"

Winslow was in an elite group. A Ferrari is also in an elite group of automobiles. But if the Ferrari driver makes just one bad decision that magnificent machine can be turned into junk in a heartbeat. Depending on the damage incurred by the wreck, the market value of that Ferrari may drop to that of a Yugo.

"It feels great, like I won the lottery," Winslow also said on his first day of practice.

He can't be feeling very lucky now.

Winslow commenting after his hold out last  year, "I am very far behind. My head is spinning. I've got a lot to learn."

Life teaches us many lessons. This past year has thrown a couple of tough lessons Winslow's way. His text book has just been opened and it may take him longer than a year to complete.

Winslow has been backed in a corner. I think he will come out fighting. The Browns and the fans need to stay in his corner until the fight is complete.    

Adversity usually brings the best out in a man. I wish Kellen Winslow Jr. the best.

A Reuben on rye   

Reuben Droughns is under contract to make $950,000 in 2005 and $1 million in 2006.

He is threatening to not honor this contract. He has the audacity to say, "I'm married now, I have to think of my family."

According to the 2000 U.S. Census the median income for a family in Cuyahoga County is $49,559. The estimated unemployment rate for the county as of March 2005 was 6.4%. It is hard for me to swallow that Reuben cannot support his family on his salary when millions in the area are doing it on much less.

Reuben Droughns might very well be underpaid for his ability to run the football when comparing him to his peers. He is entering his sixth year in the NFL and has fresh legs having only 315 career carries for 1,337 yards. He gained 1,240 of those yards last year when he was switched to tailback from fullback by the Denver Broncos due to injuries sustained by the teams' tailbacks.

True, the Browns would have undoubtedly had to pay much more to acquire Reuben's services had he been a free agent. Droughns was the Browns' plan B for adding a back. Plan A was to sign Baltimore's Chester Taylor. But the Ravens matched the offer the Browns made to the restricted free agent. The offer to Taylor was a $2 million base salary and a $1 million signing bonus, according to NFL Players' Association figures. In his three years in the league, all with Baltimore, Taylor has 256 carries for 1,112 yards.

But the fact is, Droughns is not a free agent until after the 2006 season. The Browns cannot set a precedence of renegotiating deals. They can negotiate a contract extension with him. But Droughns has not gained a single yard for the Cleveland Browns, so I can't see the sense of the Browns doing that. If Droughns comes in and plays under his current contract and has more than 1,000 yards in 2005 a contract extension would be warranted. 

I can't see this coming to a happy ending. The Browns will let Droughns holdout and he will report late to Camp with a bad attitude. Maybe it is time for Savage to go to plan C. 

It looks like the only Reuben I'll see in Cleveland next year is the one on rye at Slyman's on St. Clair.

Pimples not boils

Here is what Bud Shaw had to say in his April 26 column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about Browns' Draft Picks Andrew Hoffman and Joe Dunn.

"One draft pick got hurt after dropping a beer keg on his foot as a sophomore. That can happen. But he was stealing it at the time and that should never happen. Another reportedly missed a game in 2003 after a positive drug test."

Seven paragraphs later he adds.

"The off-field flags in this draft didn't arise until the sixth round. Nose tackle Andrew Hoffman is the keg man. Seventh-round pick Jon Dunn, an offensive tackle, failed a drug test according to nflscout.com. The Browns are said to have checked it out and believe it won't be a problem."

Andrew Hoffman's keg incident happened on his eighteenth birthday. Jon Dunn was twenty-one in 2003 when Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer suspended him for one game for failing a drug test. It wasn't a problem in 2004, or at the NFL Combine in 2005.

They were kids. And kids make mistakes. Anyone who claims to have never made a mistake in their youth is lying. I admit I made my share when I was their age, including the theft of a fully decorated Christmas tree from a bar's entrance. I'm not writing these articles from prison and have actually outgrown my childish ways. Though, I have been known to have relapses on game days. Let's give these kids the benefit of the doubt and assume they have also grown up from their experiences. 

I realize that in this day and age professional athletes are under the microscope. But these kids like so many young people made an error in judgment. They didn't commit a major felony. These incidents were youthful blemishes and the proper steps were taken by the athletes, with help from the adults in their lives, to clear these blemishes up. I am in no way condoning theft or drug abuse. I am just saying that the media often tries to turn a pimple into a festering boil. 

I don't want to get into a war of words with Mr. Shaw because he is a pro and his words enable the Plain Dealer to sell a lot of newspapers. I'm just an amateur scribe who hasn't forgotten that kids make mistakes. 

Responses to, "Where are They Now?"

I want to thank the reader who pointed out that the April 19, "Wasted Mind" was wrong. In the column I wrote Spergon Wynn was with the B. C. Lions of the CFL. The reader informed me Wynn was traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and will compete with Tee Martin for the back-up job to Kevin Glenn. The transaction occurred April 13 and just slipped through the crevices of the almost thorough research staff of me, myself and I, here at ‘Wasted Mind'.  I will have a talk with me and myself to get this problem corrected. It is ironic Martin was drafted in the round before Wynn in the 2000 Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wynn was selected in the sixth round, sixteen picks before the Patriots chose quarterback Tom Brady.

There was also some interest about knowing what wide receiver JaJuan Dawson was up to these days? I  contacted JaJuan, who currently resides in Houston, and he gave some insight to his football career and the time he spent in Cleveland.

Here is what he said, "I miss Cleveland (not the winters though) and playing for the Browns. Currently, I am considering playing in the CFL in hopes of getting another opportunity in the NFL. During my time in Cleveland I realized that Cleveland has the best fans in the entire NFL. I would like to thank the Browns fans for supporting me during my career I look forward to a strong return to the NFL. And if there is no return, I can say I played for one of the greatest organizations in professional sports that being the Cleveland Browns."

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