OBR News & World Report: 2/24

There's been a bit of less-than-subtle chatter about the Cleveland Browns' need for veteran "leadership" at wide receiver. If there was ever a slam-dunk answer available in free agency for such a need it would be hometown boy and multi-Super Bowl player Joe Jurevicius. That is Item One on John Taylor's menu of combine and free agency goodness this morning...

(Editor's note: This is the first of what we hope will be a daily column. While at first it will be simply links—with an OBR twist and flava--to news stories associated with the Browns and other AFC North teams, we will eventually be branching out into original material ala the NFLtalk Rumor Mill and the old BTNG Sunday Morning Massacre. Of course, the usual smarminess and snarkiness that has been associated with the above two mentioned columns will continue in liberal/heavy doses.)


Will Joe Jurevicius come home? While it's a question that remains to be answered, it's a possibility that seems to be growing with each passing day.

Jurevicius, a free-agent wide receiver and Lake Catholic graduate, returned to his alma mater yesterday to present the first scholarship from his recently-created memorial fund.

While in town, the veteran WR addressed the possibility of signing with the very team he grew up rooting for in the late 80's and early 90's. In fact, it seems Jurevicius is more than amenable to a return.

"It's definitely crossed my mind," said Jurevicius told the Lake County News Herald.

"But it's out of my hands. It's up to (the Browns) if they feel I'm the best player for them. If that happens, I'll be happy and it will be exciting to come home."


While all eyes are on the start of free agency and the upcoming draft, head coach Romeo Crennel took time yesterday to address the looming quarterback situation.

In one corner, you have veteran Trent Dilfer. In the other, young gun and local icon Charlie Frye. So, how does Crennel see this situation playing itself out?

"Sometimes as guys compete, the cream rises to the top. If it rises quickly, then we'll name him quickly," Crennel told the Akron Beacon Journal. "If it takes a little bit longer to rise, then we'll take a little bit longer to name him."

A quick check of the Head Coach-To-English translator shows Crennel naming a starter as soon as Frye has proven that he can handle the job, whether that happens after passing camp, training camp or early in the exhibition schedule.


Steelers personnel chief Kevin Colbert, on the other hand, is under the assumption that Frye will be the starter.

"The quarterback situation in our division is really unique. All four teams have quarterbacks who have been starters less than three years," Colbert was quoted as saying in today's Canton Repository. "That's gonna keep our division competitive."


There is a very nice little question and answer session from this morning's Canton Repository, courtesy of Steve Doerschuk.

In it, Crennel and general manager Phil Savage offer up a couple of interesting comments on the draft and what way the Browns may or may not be leaning.

From Crennel, on what the strengths of this draft are:

"There are more guys on defense that can help us, so that's what we're gonna try to focus on a little bit."

And from Savage, on the strength of this class of offensive linemen:

"It's one of your impact positions, that left tackle spot. In our eyes, it's almost a skill position. It's something we'll certainly look into. I think the best one in the draft is (Virginia's) D'Brickashaw Ferguson. If he's there at 12, we'll turn that card in. I don't think he's going to be there. We've got to investigate these other players."


Savage had even more to say regarding the offensive line as a whole as it relates to their draft course, this time courtesy of the Elyria Chronicle Telegram.

"We have a veteran line in terms of guys who've played in the league, but at some point in time it's an area that has to be addressed with younger players. I'd love for us to be able to draft someone of significance this year for the offensive line. I think it would be a step in the right direction."


It's that time of the year again, when general managers turn into a gaggle of Mr. Blackwells and attempt to find the lone stretch mark or ingrown hair on the Halle Berrys of the draft world.

The player under the microscope this go-around is Reggie Bush, and the person putting him there is none other than Browns general manager Phil Savage. While Bush is widely expected to be the first overall pick, Savage has doubts as to whether the USC product can handle the pounding and grind of an every-down NFL running back.

"Whichever team takes Reggie at the top of the draft, if they utilize him in the right way, he can still be a Heisman Trophy-winner at the pro level, even if he's only touching the ball 10 or 15 times a game," Savage said.

"I think when you get in a situation, at his size, when you're carrying it 20 or 25 times a game for 16 games, I think that's almost an impossibility for somebody to do that the way the game is played right now."


So, Kenard Lang had his contract terminated yesterday. I could think of 4.6 million reasons why that was in now way, shape or form shocking. Also, there's the mitigating fact that he took to the stand-up linebacker position like a porn star to dialogue.

And Michael Lehan was released as well? The working headline for that move was "UPS driver gets the axe".


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