The internet brings us the ability to pass along information quickly. Unfortunately, the servers, networks, and software that comprise the internet do not discriminate between good information and bad information.
That has been proven twice already in the last week, thanks to a misleading article in the Philadelphia Inquirer which stated that C LeCharles Bentley would sign with the Eagles the moment that free agency started. It was proven in the early hours of Saturday morning when articles prepared by a Browns employee in the event of free agency signings or the extension of L.J. Shelton's contract were found by web surfers.
In both cases, the erroneous information spread quickly through the internet thanks to devoted fans who share what they hear with their friends.
They also spread due to football headline services more concerned with parroting what they read quickly than determining whether or not it has any level of accuracy. In one case, it's fairly certain that a news headline service actually picked up bad information by seeing it discussed on the OBR message boards. The concern for speed above accuracy has led Browns fans in the wrong direction twice already since Friday night.
Make that three times.
Last night, word spread quickly throughout the online community of Browns fans that the team had signed DE/OLB Kalimba Edwards to a contract. Again, the information was incorrect, despite continued negotiations with Edwards since Saturday about a possible agreement with with the team.
Today, we can report exclusively that sources within the Cleveland Browns organization tell TheOBR.com that the team has determined that Edwards needs to come to agreement on a contract today, or the team will head in another direction.
While negotiations are on-going, The OBR did not feel confident enough last evening to describe a contract as being "imminent", although that situation could change quickly on Monday.
Word that Edwards had signed came from two over-the-air sources, the ABC affiliate in Youngstown, Ohio, and 1270AM, the radio home of the Lions in Detroit. Thanks to attentive Browns fans, both reports came to our attention quickly.*
Upon contacting the Youngstown television station, we learned that they ran the Edwards signing due to information provided to them by CNN, which termed the information a "report" rather than a "confirmation". Using "reportedly signed" in this context generally means that the news organization does not have direct confirmation of the news item. While the Youngstown station ran the report on their 6PM newscast, they told us that they didn't intend to run it again at 11PM because of the lack of confirmation.
Contact was also made with the Detroit radio station, where an intern informed us that they had been told that Edwards was signed. The station's manager did not return phone calls to provide us with more information on the source of the report.
At the end of the day, we believe that the Browns and Edwards have continued to negotiate. We can provide no confirmation of any signing and, at this point, believe that the reports were premature.
* Thank you, Nasdaq and Mikehey.