Tuesday News Recap: Thunderbolts and Chance

The Browns get lucky (for once)... Zeus gets his day in court... Victor Riley gets less interesting... Johnnie Morton on the radar?... Bottlegate ripple effects continue... Another free agent goes buh-bye... and the Browns are still playing coy about the draft.

YAHOO READERS: Surf to Bernie's Insiders (http://browns.theinsiders.com) to see this article with all the links to articles intact!

This article made possible by the dawgs who slam tips into the Tipline like there is no tomorrow. Thanks to: Rick (Riley story), George, Bill B. (Morton story), Jason (Johnson story), RKelly (McCardell story) and Matt (Starks article). Thanks also to Sean, Ravenhater, and BobK for tips on the Zeus Brown story. You dawgs RULE.

Orlando "Zeus" Brown, whose career was ended when a shot-filled penalty marker thrown by Jeff Triplette hit him in the eye, has filed a $200 million lawsuit against the NFL. That lawsuit moved forward yesterday after U.S. District Judge Gerard E. Lynch ruled that the NFL could not push the case to arbitration instead of fighting it out in court. Somehow, I suspect that this will all end with some wealthy lawyers and higher beer prices.

The Browns will be selecting 16th instead of 17th in the upcoming NFL draft, thanks to a fortunate flip of a coin. The Browns and Atlanta finished wtih identical records and identical strength of schedule, and resultingly were forced to the coin flip. The Falcon's new spend-happy owner, Arthur Blank (Check) made the call and was denied by fate.

Some of the intrigue of the coin flip was removed last week when the Falcons, who like the Browns looked to upgrade at running back, signed Warrick Dunn to a contract. At present, it appears that the Browns will be able to select any running back they desire in the April 20th draft.

The team is still being coy about what they will do in the draft. In Pat McManamon's article in the ABJ today, Carmen Policy even suggests that Davis may be tempted to draft a defensive player. Interestingly, Davis makes the point later in the article that current offensive tackles such as Paul Zukauskas develop the most during their first two or three years, and will be given a shot at the starting job regardless of who gets brought in.

The Browns appear to believe that Victor Riley isn't worth what he's asking. They won't be any less convinced now that Riley has recieved a one-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Sportsline reports that Riley has been accused of bashing his car repeatedly into his wife's car (while infant was in the back seat) during a "domestic dispute". 

This type of behavior merits a one-game suspension from the NFL. Based on what I've seen these last couple of years, the only thing that would get a player tossed out of the league is working with terrorist groups to smuggle a nuclear device into Paul Tagliabue's house, and even that would prompt protesting editorials from the home team press and a lawsuit from Al Davis.

Duane Starks, who drew some interest from the Browns, is headed to Arizona with bags of cash under his arms. Starks signed a five-year, $23 million deal with the Cards... The odds that Keenan McCardell will get released by the Jags on June 1 shot up even higher yesterday, as the Jaguars signed Ravens WR Pat Johnson.... The team's tentativeness about re-signing the frequently injured Tre Johnson has the offensive lineman expressing his wishes to return to the Washington Redskins. Johnson's agent tells the Washington Post: "He liked his time (in Washington) and would be interested in going back if they're interested in him.".. FoxSports reports that the Browns are interested in Johnnie Morton of the Lions, who was cut in a salary cap move despite his 77 receptions in 2001.

BROWNS PREPARE FOR MORE SECURITY: Tony Grossi reports this morning that the bottle-tossing extravaganza against the Jaguars captured the attention of the NFL, with a renewed focus on security at Cleveland Browns Stadium likely to be the result. Expect that plastic bottles of beer are history and that the Browns will continue to ask fans to turn each other in when rowdiness gets out of hand. Five season ticket holders have been booted as a result of the incident and, as someone who attended the game, I'm fairly sure that they were the ones who tossed out most of those bottles. Grossi's article clearly shows that, in retrospect, the team feels that they handled the incident poorly.

You can write to Art Bietz at
artbtz@berniesinsiders.com. He will read your email, nod knowingly, make some sort of grunting sound, and reply if his darling three-year-old girl stops pestering him to play with her.

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