YAHOO READERS: Visit Bernie's Insiders for all the story links which accompany this recap!
ANOTHER FREE AGENT GOES BYE-BYE: Less than 48 hours after losing out in the La'Roi Glover chase and less than 96 hours after seeing Ricky Williams go to the Dolphins, Browns fans got to see Garrison Hearst return to San Francisco. Hearst played it wonderfully, attacting a lot of attention from the Browns and Falcons before staying put for a lot more money. This leaves the Browns situation at running back still unsettled, and the team is talking to James Allen to possibly fill the gap. Allen was a 1000-yard rusher for the Bears in 2000 before being pushed aside as Anthony Thomas led the Monsters of the Midway back to the playoffs.
An interesting side note from Clark Judge on FoxSports gadget-filled web site: the Detroit Lions were frantically calling Hearst trying to get into the bargaining late as Hearst was busy signing with the 49ers. This ties into a favorite theory of mine, namely, that the Lions are being run by lunatics.
Meanwhile, stories of impressive 40-times from MSU's TJ Duckett and Miami's Clinton Portis are popping up all over, with the associated claims that the Browns scouts in attendance had their attention captured by both. It now appears that Portis has improved his lot to the point where he is now considered by many draft gurus to be a possible first-round pick. Meanwhile, William Green had another mediocre workout for scouts, but is still considered a high-to-mid first-round pick. The Browns also watched Brown University's Mike Malan work out yesterday.
THE WAITING GAME: The Steelers have until next Tuesday to match the offer sheet signed by OL Oliver Ross. While most pundits have conjectured that the Steelers can't afford to match the Browns' offer, ESPN's John Clayton is today saying that he thinks they will. Interestingly, Clayton does not include the Browns in the list of teams interested in the Bucs' Warrick Dunn.
THE NON-ACCIDENTAL TOURISTS: Free agents travel the world looking for one honest GM. Since that's going to be tough, they're at least looking for one with a lot of cash. The Redskins Shawn Barber is meeting with the Giants, Panthers, and Eagles. The Washington Times speculates that the Browns might sign Barber to a "modest contract". The Times also offers up that the Cowboys passed on world traveller Ken Dilger. Speaking of Dilger, a report on Bengals.com states that Dilger will drive down from Indy to talk to the Bengals.Mike Brown, meanwhile, is frantically preparing for the visit by collecting all the Skyline Chili coupons he can to sweeten a possible deal for the Colts' Pro Bowl TE.
The Bears RFA Warrick Holdman has gotten a lot of interest, but tells ChicagoBears.com that he will return to team. Another running back attached via rumor to the Browns, Fred Taylor, was reportedly all buddy-buddy with Jags Coach Tom Coughlin yesterday according to the Florida Times-Union. There might be a tie between this show of friendliness and Tony Grossi's comments during a chat webcast yesterday that the Jags are looking for a top draft pick in exchange for the oft-injured back.
NOTE: Two of the linked articles above are on Official NFL Team Sites. These shouldn't properly be considered real news, rather as pseudo-news mixed with pseudo-marketing. Then again, this article is just a compendium of other people's work with the opinions of a Browns fan thrown in, so it doesn't really qualify either. Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be webmasters.
Fox's Clark Judge damages his credibility by buying into Brian Billick's uber-spin in Baltimore, but rights himself by reporting that Duane Starks is probably headed to Oakland. Clark also reports that Cleveland might be interested in Keenan McCardell if he is released on June 1, which has been reported in these parts for about a month.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST. WELL, ACTUALLY, LEAST: The Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals are supposedly sniffing around free agent quarterback Scott "Sumo" Mitchell, a player referred to as a "water buffalo" by an opposing DE when he was with Baltimore. Please note... Mitchell couldn't cut it with the BENGALS, and was considered expendable relative to Jon Kitna and Akili Smith. Not even Brian Billick's quarterback-reviving genius could help him when he was with the Ravens, as it did in restoring the careers of Stoney Case, Tony Banks, and Elvis Grbac. Oh wait, nevermind.
Why is no one asking why quarterbacks who work with Billick seem to go nowhere? Maybe the answer is in his book. If one of the five people who bought will write to me, I'll publish the info in an upcoming edition of this fact-filled column.