There was an alarm sounded this past week when middle linebacker Earl Holmes underwent minor knee surgery. The buzz was more or less that the Browns had signed a damaged good player.
Talking with a member of the Browns organization this past week, the surgical procedure is absolutely nothing to be alarmed about.
"When we gave Earl (Holmes) his physical we could see that his knees were in good shape, that he had recovered from some minor issues suffered late in the 2001 season while in Pittsburgh," the source said. "All Earl was suffering from was some minor, very minor irritation and we felt it would be best if we had it taken care of now."
"In all reality, we are surprised how well Earl has blended into this team. He is a leader and has stepped right in and strongly solidified our middle linebacker position. Without a doubt, we will be a better defense with him here."
All is not well when it concerns linebacker Jamir Miller. Miller wants his contract redone and the Browns have absolutely no interest in reworking his contract for the 2002 season. According to a source close to the team, the story is two-fold.
"Miller has a couple good seasons and he thinks that he deserves to be compensated like one of the top linebackers in the game," the source said. "Contrary to his belief, the Browns actually provided him the opportunity to raise his game and they want to see if he can maintain the high level of play that he tasted in the 2001 season. Additionally, the Browns are not in a position at this time to pay the outrageous signing bonus that Miller's agent David Dunn has requested."
"How quickly Jamir (Miller) has forgotten that the Browns took a chance on him when not one team was knocking his door down after leaving the Arizona Cardinals."
Is he staying or going? That is the hot question that has surrounded Browns wide receiver Kevin Johnson.
Seeking a contract that would make him one of top 5 compensated receivers in the league, the Browns and representatives for Johnson discussed parameters of a deal and the Browns have dropped some numbers on KJ, representatives close to Johnson tell The Insiders.
"The Browns are willing to make Kevin (Johnson) one of the higher compensated players in the league at his position, but they are not close to the numbers that Kevin is asking for," the source said. "Cleveland is known to negotiate hard and make an agent work for every dollar for his client."
"But the Browns organization is fair and they sincerely want to keep Kevin in Cleveland for years to come. They like what he has done for them and they want to maintain the continuity that they have working there."
The fullback posiiton is one that has been on the minds of the Browns front office for the past few months. For a period of time the Browns were entertaining candidates to fill the position, but have backed away from that stance.
In the weeks leading up to training camp the Browns are expected to revisit those thoughts and one player that could land back on the radar screen is Donnell Bennett.
Speaking of the fullbacks, tight-end/H-back/Mr. Versatile, Aaron Shea has seen some time in the backfield showing some promise along with veteran J.J. Johnson.
Johnson acquired from the Miami Dolphins for a conditional seventh round draft choice improved his stock in the recent mini-camp. Indications that have made their way to this column is that Johnson looked much more comfortable in the role, but until the pads go on and the hitting starts, you don't know what you have.