Browns Wrap: Connect the Dots

The pieces appear to be put in place to allow Braylon Edwards to exit...

If this were a game of connect the dots, it appears the picture being formed is of Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards wearing a different uniform in 2009.

Browns general manager George Kokinis and coach Eric Mangini have beefed up the receiving corps more than any other position this offseason, possibly to set up a trade involving Edwards.

The makeover started by trading Kellen Winslow Jr., a tight end who played more like a wide receiver at times. The latest addition is Mike Furrey, a six-year NFL veteran with 198 career receptions. He played with the Lions the last three seasons after playing three seasons with the Rams.

Furrey is the sixth wide receiver added to the roster since Mangini and Kokinis took over after the Browns finished 4-12 in 2008. They signed David Patten (Saints) and Devale Ellis in free agency. They drafted Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi in the second round and signed Jordan Norwood of Penn State as an undrafted rookie.

The Browns would be a mess at wide receiver without those additions because Donte Stallworth faces an uncertain future stemming from a DUI manslaughter charge and because the Browns released Joe Jurevicius. Joshua Cribbs has never proven he can catch the ball consistently and Syndric Steptoe is a fourth receiver at best. Paul Hubbard did not play in a regular-season game in 2008.

Stallworth is scheduled for arraignment May 21 for a traffic accident police say killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes on March 14. According to toxicology reports, Stallworth's blood alcohol content was .126 at the time of the accident. The legal limit in Florida is .08.

Furrey, 6-feet, 195 ponds, is 32 years old. He was an undrafted rookie with the Colts in their 2000 training camp. He played with the Las Vegas Outlaws in the defunct XFL in 2001 and in 2002 and 2003 played with the New York Dragons in the Arena Football League. The Rams picked him up and employed him for three years beginning in 2003 after the Dragons' season ended.

Furrey's best year as a pro was in 2006 when he caught 98 passes with the Lions for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns. Last year he played in nine games with two starts and caught 18 passes for 181 yards. He caught 61 passes in 2007 but scored only one touchdown in 2007.

Edwards was at the center of trade rumors to the Giants before the draft. Now he has been linked to rumors of a trade to the Jets. Edwards has been an infrequent participant in the Browns offseason conditioning program.

VOICES OF EXPERIENCE: Two Browns in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Jim Brown and Paul Warfield, along with 2006 first-round draft choice Kamerion Wimbley and Josh Cribbs, who made the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2005, spoke to the rookies during a meeting on the second night of rookie camp.

Brown now works for the Browns as an advisor. Warfield is in the scouting department.

"I don't think any of these (rookies) have any idea how unique that is," coach Eric Mangini said. "They'll probably realize it at some point in their life.

"It's about the spirit of football and why we play football. It's one of my favorite nights of the year."

Mangini had former and current players speak to the rookies when he coached the Jets from 2006-08.

THE CRIBBS QUESTION: Mangini is still trying to figure out the best way to use Joshua Cribbs. Cribbs is in his fifth season and is not part of the rookie minicamp, but his name came up.

"I couldn't give you a definitive way that we are going to use him," Mangini said. "I think some of that is up to him. What I mean by that is what role he's able to carve out, whether it's exclusively on offense, whether it's exclusively on defense, or whether it's a little bit of both.

"He has met with some of the offensive coaches and some of the defensive coaches. I actually owe him a quiz because he said he has a couple of the defenses down cold. We shall see."

Last year, former coach Romeo Crennel said Cribbs' best position on defense would be safety.

NOT A LOCK, BUT A CHANCE: Brett Lockett was a tryout player at the Browns' rookie minicamp. He impressed Mangini enough to earn a free-agent contract. He is still a long way from making the team, but he is the only tryout player so far to be offered a contract by the Browns.

Lockett, 6-1, 211 pounds, was a four-year letterman at UCLA. He started 11 games as a senior and made 61 tackles.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every time I go I'm nervous. Sometimes you run into a big one. They have tusks that can hurt you. You see him and chase it down. It's fun. Say you're on the kickoff team and you're chasing down the kick returner, you chase him down." - Browns rookie linebacker Kaluka Maiava comparing hunting wild boar to playing on special teams.

MCDONALD PROMOTION: After leaving the position vacant for four months the Browns have named a receivers coach. George McDonald was hired as offensive quality control coach on Feb. 11 after two seasons as the receivers coach at the University of Minnesota. He was promoted to receivers coach three days after the Browns concluded their rookie minicamp.

The promotion comes as no surprise. McDonald was working as the receivers coach during the minicamp last weekend.

McDonald coached two seasons at Western Michigan University prior to moving on to Minnesota. While at Western Michigan he worked with current Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. In McDonald's first season coaching the Broncos' receivers, Jennings was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year, MAC Co-MVP and was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist after setting school career marks for receptions, receiving touchdowns and all-purpose yards.

McDonald also coached at Stanford, Northern Illinois and Ball State. He lettered four seasons as a receiver at Illinois (1995-98), where he finished his career with 59 receptions and 589 yards.


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