The OBR Daily News & World Report

Pinocchio, Pinocchio, wherefore art thou Pinocchio? Plus, Fireman Jim pulls out his hose yet again. All that and much, much more in today's edition of the never duplicated and hardly replicated DN&WR..

Sunday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the only NFL job that would be of any interest to Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel would be the Cleveland Browns. Since then, Tressel has spent the last four days attempting to put out the fires of speculation as to his future at tOSU.

(Although, to be fair, he could've opened the fire hydrant full bore and doused the blaze instead of cranking it a couple of times and letting it trickle about the flames.)

Fireman Jim was at it again yesterday, giving callers to his weekly radio show more hope that, indeed, he won't be leaving Columbus any time in the near future.

"There's nobody here other than a couple of our players that's going to be heading to the Browns," the Columbus Dispatch reported the coach telling one caller.

However, the genie is out of the bottle and, until the Browns can show some on-field success, the speculation and the "Tressel-to-Cleveland" rumors will continue crop up every now and again. In spite of the best intentions and whatever words come out of the burgeoning tOSU legend's mouth.

Early on in the regular season, head coach Romeo Crennel told reporters that Joe Jurevicius was not suffering from broken ribs. A day or two later, Jurevicius told a local radio station that he was indeed suffering from broken ribs.

During the press conference announcing Maurice Carthon's "resignation", Crennel told reporters that he was unaware of issues between his former coordinator and both players and members of his own coaching staff. Various reports from numerous media outlets--including this one--paint a completely different picture.

Now comes the "mystery illness" of Ryan Tucker. The offensive lineman has not been seen around Berea all this week and, according to Crennel, is being treated on an outpatient basis at the Cleveland Clinic. This comes on the heels of Tucker missing two practices late last week and being forced out of the loss to Denver due to the unspecified malady.

As to the specifics of the illness, Crennel has gone Sergeant Schultz with the media.

He knows nothing.

"I will not get into symptoms," Crennel said. "Symptoms open the door for speculation. I'm not a doctor and I don't know what the symptoms are."

OK, c'mon now. It's one thing to not want to reveal symptoms of an illness because, and on this you are absolutely correct, it does lead to speculation.

It's another thing entirely to sit there and state that you "don't know what the symptoms are."

Give us a break. NFL head coaches are notorious micro-managers, with little or no detail escaping their ever-watchful eagle eyes.

Especially when it comes to starters who may or may not be available for the following game. Especially on a unit that's struggled all season and whose backups have proven in pre-season that they can't play (Nat Dorsey) or have as yet to be active, let alone see the field, for a game in 2006 (Kelly Butler).

You mean to tell me someone came to you, told you that Tucker was sick, and no further explanation was needed? And you just said "OK, whatever." Really?

There is a growing impression--right or wrong--that you know a whole lot of nothing as to the goings-on of your team.

Then again, if you truly didn't know about JJ's ribs...

...and the acrimony on the staff and among the players...

...and what Tucker's symptoms are...

...then there is more wrong with this team than an OC firing can cure.

Offensive lineman Lennie Friedman played one series each at both guard positions and at center during last Sunday's loss to the Broncos. According to Crennel, that rotation--or something similar--will continue this weekend against the Jets.

"He was representative and didn't cause us to get knocked back or screw up plays," Crennel said. "He knew his assignments and we'll use him similar this week."

Earlier in the week, guard Cosey Coleman let it be known that he wasn't pleased with being taken out, but did not make waves because he understood that "we're 1-5 right now and we're trying to get things turned around."

Speaking of the offensive line, it's looking more and more likely that Butler will start in Tucker's stead should his "mystery illness" keep him out of action. Which would mean, of course, that Dorsey would not be starting.

Quarterback Charlie Frye could not be reached for comment as he was busy blowing up balloons and acquiring party favors and fireworks for the celebration scheduled for later on yesterday evening.

All signs are pointing to Jereme Perry getting his first career start this weekend as erstwhile starter Leigh Bodden continues to struggle in his recovery from an ankle injury.

Although he's listed as questionable, a source tells The OBR that Bodden's chances of suiting up this Sunday "well under 50%". A final decision on Bodden's status will likely not be made until the corner has a chance to test the ankle in the hours before the 4:15 kickoff against the Jets.

Perry--who replaced Gary Baxter after the veteran suffered a season-ending double knee injury against Denver--would start opposite Daven Holly, who started last week in place of Bodden.

Fullback Lawrence Vickers was a late addition to the injury report yesterday, being listed as questionable with an elbow injury. The rookie, who had practiced all week, missed at least a portion of practice yesterday.

It's believed that the Colorado product suffered the injury while doing prep work for an off-season Quarterback Skills Challenge competition.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Maurice Carthon is a good friend of mine, someone I'm close with and I think is an outstanding football coach... When it happens to people you know like that, it hits you in the gut a little bit more. So that's not a good thing."--Saints head coach Sean Payton, on the firing of Cleveland's offensive coordinator.

QUOTE OF THE DAY, THE SEQUEL: "Eat your Wheaties"--Jets linebacker Matt Chatham, on the advice he would give rookie center Nick Mangold before he faced nose tackle Ted Washington.

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