If there is pessimism about the Browns prospects in 2005, it was tough to tell from the comments and news stories which flowed forth from last night's Akron Browns Backers meeting. The annual event, which is well-covered in the press because of its proximity and the participation of the team, provided enough nuggets of information to keep some Browns news flowing during the usually quiet mid-May NFL news drought.
The key revelation, courtesy of head coach Romeo Crennel, was that holdout running back Reuben Droughns had returned to Berea and was at the facility on Monday.
The problem, though, is that no one seems to know what he's doing there or how long he is going to stay.
"I didn't see him working out,'' Crennel told the Canton Rep's Steve Doerschuck. "Maybe he'll work out tomorrow.
Crennel, while saying he intended to talk to the running back, didn't provide a lot of clues. The person who did provide a clue was Droughns himself, who talked briefly with Plain Dealer reporter Mary Kay Cabot via the phone.
"Right now, I'm not worrying about the business side of it," the newly acquired running back told Cabot. "All I'm concerned about is learning the system and getting in shape for the season."
Droughns says he believes that he will be around for the team's passing camp (which starts in a week) and the full-squad minicamp in mid-June. Whether his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, feels the same way isn't quite known. Unless his contract is re-negotiated, Droughns will attempt to live on a salary of $950,000 this year.
While Droughns agitates for a living wage, ex-Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware looks ready to cash in after being dumped by Baltimore.
The Browns are among the mny teams circling the Ravens all-time sacks leader. The affable Browns head coach told reporters that the Browns were "interested and doing (their) homework" on the linebacker, whose experience in a 3-4 defense would make him a natural fit in Crennel's preferred scheme.
The Seahawks, Bengals and a number of other teams have also expressed interest in the accomplished, but oft-injured, pass rusher.
As they did last week, Browns President John Collins and Crennel shrugged off questions about Winslow's prognosis, saying that they would not have the information they needed to comment until mid-week.