Barking Mad: Brave, Brave Sir Hallen

Michael Desmond takes a look a look at genuine (alleged) courage under fire (allegedly).

Brave Sir Robin ran away.
Bravely ran away away.
("I didn't!")
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
("I never!")
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
("You're lying!")
****Bravely**** taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the braaaave, Sir Robin!

- From the song Brave Sir Robin in the movie Monty Python's Holy Grail

Bob Hallen is dead to me now.

The nine-year veteran came to Cleveland to fill the critical sixth man role on the offensive line. He was the kind of bread-and-butter signing that casual fans fail to notice, a guy who would bring depth and versatility to three OL spots. And given the injury histories of guards Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman, Hallen was going to see extended duty as a fill-in starter. He knew it. His agent knew. And Browns GM Phil Savage knew it.

So when the call to start came early - after the season-ending knee injury to LeCharles Bentley - Hallen opted to step away rather than step up.

Bob Hallen quit*.

And it's not just that he quit*. That was bad, sure. It was the way he did it*.

Hallen plugged away for nearly two weeks, making all the right noises to the press about how the team had to come together and the line was going to be OK. Then, on a Tuesday afternoon, Hallen simply failed to appear at the afternoon practice*.

Hallen feigned back trouble*, fled camp*, made dubious claims about getting medical attention, and then—finally—quit*. His agent would mutter something about stenosis and ruptured discs, but the Browns front office wasn't buying. Phil Savage would later out Hallen's excuse-making to the public, stating plainly that Hallen had absolutely no history of back injury and had cleanly passed every physical given by the team.

Hearing Hallen's list of excuses roll out was like watching the scene in the movie Blues Brothers, when ‘Joliet' Jake Blues begs his jilted girlfriend not to kill him.

Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.

Jake: No I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD.

I'm honestly surprised Hallen's agent didn't mention locusts. That's a good one. The funny thing is, in the movie the girlfriend buys it. Browns fans, however, are neither gullible nor forgiving. They've seen enough betrayal to last them a lifetime.

Bob Hallen was happy to take the Browns money, and a critical roster spot, as long as he didn't actually have to play to earn it. Once he learned that he would face a full season of live fire, he quit.

But it's not just money he took. He robbed the Browns of a chance to field a competitive team. We traded Jeff Faine away because we believed Hallen would be rock-steady depth at center. If Hallen had whispered his doubts about playing center to the front office, we might have kept Faine on the team. We might not now be staring at Ross Tucker and a whole lot of nobody at the pivot.

Not that any of that matter snow. Bob Hallen is dead to me. He joins a pantheon of nefarious former Browns whose names may not be spoken in my house. Art Modell, Bill Cowher, Andre Rison… this is the company that Bob Hallen now keeps.

* Allegedly
(Inserted by nervous editor)

The OBR Top Stories