Taylor: Circling The Browns

It's just not fair. Out there are people who don't know the true scoop about Josh Cribbs injury, what Joe Horn spent last Sunday doing, how RAC really feels about his receivers, why Browns are playing a waiting game signing vets... Those people are called "non-subscribers". Pray you aren't one. (Just kidding. Kinda.)

-- As it stands right now – and barring an unexpected miracle – Josh Cribbs will not be available for the season opener this Sunday, a source close to the return specialist told The OBR. While Cribbs is making strides in recovering from the high-ankle sprain, the progress has not been rapid enough where he can safely return to the field without fear of suffering a potentially devastating setback. A Browns source, however, refused to say Cribbs would not be available and that he would be a game-time decision. He did allow, though, that "it doesn't look promising (for a Sunday return) but we are still hopeful the injury can turn itself around in the next couple of days."

-- According to multiple sources, head coach Romeo Crennel is "very concerned about the inexperience" behind Braylon Edwards and Donte' Stallworth and has been "pushing hard for seasoned help" to be added at the wide receiver position. Whether it's Joe Horn or another receiver with a somewhat similar pedigree, Crennel has not been shy about letting the front office know that he would prefer to add a veteran into the receiver mix.

-- And it's not only Crennel who sees the benefits of adding veteran depth as senior offensive assistant coach Dave Atkins has been banging the drum loudly for the organization to add Horn. Perhaps "even more so than his head coach", one source said. Atkins was the running backs coach in New Orleans during Horn's tenure with the Saints and has always held the receiver in high regard.

-- Speaking of Horn – again – a little birdie has informed The OBR that the receiver spent his Labor Day on the golf course, texting back and forth with an unnamed member of the Cleveland Browns' 53-man roster. The unnamed player was keeping Horn up-to-date as to the Browns' interest and what direction they might be heading.

-- Here's one rumor we've heard from multiple sources, so we'll throw it out there: both the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns are waiting until after the first game of the regular season to begin a serious pursuit of players such as Horn. And just why would they be doing that? If a vested veteran such as Horn – or Ty Law, for that matter – is on the 53-man roster come Sunday, their Paragraph 5 salaries become fully guaranteed. Thus, if a vested veteran is released at some point during the regular season, the organization is responsible for the remainder of his salary – although only a portion of that would count against the club's salary cap. However, if a vested veteran does not become part of a 53-man roster until after the first game, his Paragraph 5 salary is not guaranteed should he be released. Needless to say, there are several player agents who are extremely displeased with club's utilizing this "loophole" in the CBA.

-- There is a rumor making the rounds that the Browns caught wind of a team behind them in the waiver-wire order being interested in Scott Young which, when coupled with their own initially-heavy interest given the injury situation on the offensive line, sealed the deal and led to their making a claim on the guard. A league source informed The OBR that the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots – in addition to possibly one other team (the Dallas Cowboys?) – put in a claim for the fourth-year guard as well. It's uncertain as to which team behind the Browns in the waiver order piqued their interest, but it would be safe to assume that anything involving an AFC North team would hold particular weight with the club.

-- When the Bucs claimed offensive lineman James Lee off the waiver wire this past weekend, it did not sit well with very many inside the confines of Berea, to say the least. The Browns were/are very high on the progress the young lineman had made during training camp and the pre-season, and were attempting to sneak him through waivers onto the practice squad. The Browns were already assured by Lee's agent that, if the lineman went unclaimed, he would sign a practice squad contract with the organization.



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