Passan: Wishes and Hopes

Rich Passan offers his thoughts on some of the big issues facing the Browns as June brings summer weather to Ohio. Here are wishes and hopes for Kellen Winslow (both of them), Ross Verba, L.J. Shelton, and Peter Boulware. Join Rich and Barry McBride tonight at 9PM for the Bernies Insiders Radio Show on!

I wish . . .

Kellen Winslow would take a chill pill and realize his son is so much a chip off the old block, it could stunt his growth as a professional football player.

I hope . . .

Winslow takes some major steps back and looks at his son differently. It's time to cut the cord, big fella. Untie the apron strings and let him go. He's a big boy now. Let him fight his own battles.

He's now a member of the Cleveland Browns. He aspires to follow in your footsteps and become a Hall of Famer. Don't mess it up for him.

Winslow says kids make mistakes when they're 21. If I'm not mistaken, he was 21 at one time, too. Don't recall reading about him messing up his knee in a motorcycle accident. Or making ill-advised statements following a loss.

He criticizes people for labeling his son's actions stupid. Mean-spirited, he says. He called his son's actions with his motorcycle "unwise."

No. Drafting and signing Junior was unwise. What he did on that bike was stupid and thoughtless. That's not being mean-spirited. That's being truthful.

Winslow blamed the media for turning the cycle incident into a circus. Not quite right. His acting like a jerk has turned this mess into a circus.

He said his son was not a piece of property. Wrong. He and every athlete who signs a professional contract are pieces of property. He was, too, when he played with the San Diego Chargers. It's not exactly indentured servitude, but it's a fact of life.

Winslow feels the need to protect his son when he is attacked. To a certain extent, he's right. But I don't recall anyone in the media attacking Junior. All anyone, including, the fans, wanted to know was exactly what happened that Sunday night in Westlake.

The young man brings attention to himself by his actions and words. He can't have it both ways.

Winslow should do everyone a favor, especially his son, and get lost. For about 10 years. Then wait five more years for Junior to join him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If Junior decides to follow the advice of his father, he is making a mistake.

Hopefully, it's not too late.

I wish . . .

Ross Verba would grab a slice of reality and be honest with himself.

I hope . . .

Verba looks at the pro football landscape – no, make that the sports landscape – and tells us he honestly believes there is loyalty in sports.

In this day and age where lying and deceit are commonplace, the only loyalty that exists in sports is the loyalty fans show for their favorite teams. Where living and dying with their exploits and happenings turns them onto zealots.

The Browns have hurt Verba's feelings by reneging on a verbal promise made by a man who by now is living in a galaxy far, far away. Poor guy has been lied to. Shocking.

Can't remember the last time that's happened.

Verba claims to be one of the top offensive left tackles in the National Football League. After long and exhaustive research involving film study and consuming huge amounts of caffeine, one can come to only one conclusion in this important matter.

No he's not.

I wish . . .

New Browns offensive tackle L.J. Shelton nothing but the best as he reports to his new team. If there is one position the Browns need to solidify, it's left tackle.

I hope . . .

Shelton surprises everyone and reports to training camp next month in the best shape of his career. Don't repeat what happened last summer when he reported so fat and out of shape following off-season surgery, his new coach benched him.

Shelton is coming into the perfect situation. New front office, new coaching staff, new attitude and a whole bunch of new faces.  If he's as talented as some believe, he should have no problem fitting in.

All he has to do is work hard. The genes are there. His daddy, Lonnie, was an overachieving strong forward in the National Basketball Association for nearly a decade. That included a stint with the Cavaliers.

Lonnie was the epitome of the underdog athlete who became a force through sheer desire. He was not abundantly talented, but made rebounding an art form that enabled him to last in the NBA far longer than those more gifted. He persevered and made the most of his opportunities.

Time for the son to follow in his father's footsteps in the work ethic department.

I wish . . .

Peter Boulware would hurry up and make up his mind about which team will win the sweepstakes to get his autograph on a contract. Preferably the Browns.

I hope . . .

First of all that Boulware is healthy enough to become an every-down player. Because if he is and the Browns are fortunate enough to sign him, a lot of the team's defensive problems will be solved.

If all the parts are working, he is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. And one aspect of the Browns' defense that needs dramatic improvement is the pass rush.

Put Boulware at one outside linebacker, Kenard Lang at the other, move Chaun Thompson inside next to Andra Davis and you have a pretty good group of starting linebackers. Not to mention some pretty good backups in Brant Boyer, Matt Stewart, Ben Taylor and rookie Nick Speegle.

Not certain what the deciding factors will be in Boulware's decision as he travels the free-agent circuit, but he has to see in the Browns a team that is just beginning to get it, a team much like the one he joined after being drafted out of Florida State several years ago, the Baltimore Ravens.  

The thought of playing two times a season against the team that cut him loose has to be very tempting. This one should be a no-brainer.

Wishing and hoping, however, does not always make it so.

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