John Taylor: Return of The Berea Chronicles

Like a ghost, he slips in and out of our consciousness. Yes, it's John Taylor, and he's back again with the latest scoop from Berea. In today's notes: A surprising priority in veteran contract talks, the latest on Eric Parker and Steve Heiden, the early returns on Mel Tucker, and more!

While all of the extension talk has centered around Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards, it's actually the contract status of soon-to-be free agent Sean Jones that is higher on the Browns to-do list, The Orange & Brown Report has learned.

Sources with knowledge of the situation have told The OBR the two sides have recently entered into very preliminary talks with the safety on a new contract.  While a new deal is "not yet close" to being reached, there is a fairly high level of hope that one can be reached before the middle of the regular season, if not sooner.

One sticking point on a new contract for Jones, or anyone else for that matter, is the looming specter of labor strife.

DRAFT SELECTION TALKS: Yes, the Browns are in talks with all four of their 2008 draft picks, and all signs point to deals being reached with each selection at some point within the next five or so days.  And, no, the above-mentioned labor strife will have a negligible, at worst, impact on rookie contracts, particularly as it pertains to players selected in the third round or beyond.

: With the off-season programs completed and training camp on the horizon, what are the early returns on new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker?

"Outstanding," one defensive player told The OBR.

"It's like night and day.  (Tucker's) a teacher.  He'll go the extra mile to make sure people understand what's going on and why things are going on.  And he listens and treats us like men.  That's not something we've been used to."

Obviously, that was more-than-subtle slap at former coordinator Todd Grantham.

A BIG NO PARKER: The Browns WILL NOT make a trade for soon-to-be-ex Chargers wide receiver Eric Parker.  Such a move is not even remotely on the table from the Browns' end, and has been discussed only fleetingly.

However, sources have intimated, they will be a player for his services once he's released by San Diego, whether that be now or well into training camp.

As one AFC West scout put it, when asked what Parker would bring to the Browns should he be signed: "They already have (Donte' Stallworth) who can drop passes on third down.  They don't need another one.  They'd need another (Joe Jurevicius)."

FUHGEDDABOUDIT: I would put little to no stock in the recent "Whispers" that undrafted rookie free agent Kolo Kapanui has a shot at making the 53-man roster.  Barring Winslow going back to his injury-riddled past or Steve Heiden being unable to return from his off-season injury, the West Texas A&M tight end has little chance of making the 53-man roster.  Kapanui, though, could be a candidate for the practice squad should he continue to progress as he did during the various off-season programs.

HEIDEN'S PROGRESS: Speaking of Heiden and his injury, the word from everyone with knowledge of his rehab from surgery on a bulging disc in his back agrees that it "has gone as well as can be expected".  The club is still hopeful that Heiden will be available for the start of training camp, although it's far from certain that will occur.

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