Newswire: Clock Ticks Down on Verba

The Browns "elite" left tackle, Ross Verba, looks to be headed out of town, at least if this morning's Daily Newswire is to be believed. Here's a wrap-up of this morning's stories, presented with the usual flavoring of uncalled-for remarks from a guy who is still confused and uncertain about what he'll do now that there's less reason to complain about the team's offensive line...

Here are some opinions and links to news stories, as seen through the eyes of a Browns fan who deliberately booked himself on a plane flight during the 2001 Super Bowl so as to not see the Ravens moment of triumph. Fans reading this article via Yahoo! will want to head to to see the original version in all of its hyperlinked glory.

Ross Verba, victimized by the Browns Scrooge-like spending habits, will be able to buy himself out of indentured servitude today by ponying up a mere $465,000 to repay his roster bonus. This tale of woe and redemption is atop the newswire on this hot and muggy Cleveland Wednesday.

Verba, who had been struggling week-to-week on his paltry wages, will attempt to avoid buying a couple suburban houses (PD) by accident over the next 24 hours in order to ensure that the check doesn't bounce.

Assuming he reaches escape velocity (ABJ, reg required) within the next day or so, Verba leaves behind him memories of four years of play as a Cleveland Brown, including his year on the team's offensive line during their surprising playoff run in 2002.

His career can't turn into a memory fast enough for fans in the Forums, where his complaints about being paid like a average offensive tackle met with about the same level of approval as a "Britney and Cletus" reality show.

Not even Verba's status as one of the team's resident party animals could endear him to Browns fans. Understandably, the fact that the offensive line as a whole had a tendency to be sieve-like and hazardous to quarterbacks during his stay here probably contributed to this lack of sympathy from members of the great unwashed such as myself.

In his defense, however, Verba was not nearly the weakest link in that unreliable chain. But he did make the mistake of sounding out of touch with reality when telling the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot that he was among the league's elite left tackles.

Phil Savage, meanwhile, continued his policy of strictly considering the approach to player acquisition established by his predecessors - and then doing the complete opposite (DDN, reg required).

For example, the Browns not only have plugged the obvious leaks in the line with the signing of guards Cosey Coleman and Joe Andruzzi, but are even going to the previously unthinkable stage of adding veteran depth (News-Herald), via the signing of 11-year veteran Marcus Spears. Somewhere, Butch Davis is in a hot tub, scented with the aroma of $100 bills floating around him, and smugly snickering to himself about Savage's foolhardy ways (

As we mentioned on last night's radio show, acquiring veteran offensive line help is the sort of behavior by Savage that we've found irritating when he was doing it with the Baltimore Ravens, in that it makes sense to us commoners and non-ex-Miami Hurricane coaches.

"Why couldn't the Browns do that?", we would ask ourselves as the Ravens acquired another valuable component part. Then we would make ourselves feel better by going off to the Rant to remind Ravens fans that Tony Siragusa took a cheap after-the-tackle shot at Rich Gannon during the team's Super Bowl run. So, you know, their 2000 Lombardi Trophy doesn't count.

- BDMc

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