Rich's Rant: Aug.1 Can't Get Here Soon Enough

The paucity of news concerning the Browns has Rich Passan pining for the start of Training Camp 2009

Welcome to the quiet season, Browns Nation. Make yourself at home.

How do you like it so far?

And don't complain about the nothingness that's emanating from Berea these days.

It won't do any good. Bellow all you want, but the only hot air at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. these days lies outside the complex.

No one of importance is inside. Yet. They'll start streaming in this week. The last few weeks have been reserved as a time to relax. Recharge the batteries. Gear up for the six-month grind known as business as usual in the National Football League.

Sure, the Cleveland Browns have signed their low-round draft choices. And the next news conference to announce those signings will be the first. Big deal.  Those low-rounders don't warrant a news conference.

The club is letting you know just enough to whet your appetite.

Not to worry. They'll all sign. No one will miss training camp, which is only 10 days away but seems more like 10 months.

Why is it that time passes so painfully slowly at this time of the season?

The players are eager to get started. The coaches are eager to get started. The fans are eager to get started. Even the media is eager to get started.

So why can't camp begin sooner? Doesn't the NFL know its fans can't get enough of the product? More is not necessarily less in this case.

Other teams have news. Cleveland has to settle for the mundane player signings.

Look at Minnesota, for example. The Vikings have struck a public relations gold vein with the Brett Favre saga. Whether it's on ESPN or Fox Sports or the Minneapolis-St. Paul newspapers and media outlets, the Favre story is an everyday news item.

(For what it's worth, the Favre soap opera has become wearisome. Sadly, the guy just doesn't know when to leave the game. He's a shadow of the player who eventually will wind up in Canton. And the more this lingers, the harder it will be for him when he really retires. Time for him to just go away before he tarnishes his image.)

Then there's that wide receiver down in Cincinnati who used to be Chad Johnson who wants to tweet during games and isn't allowed to and now he's bent all out of shape because the NFL says he's not allowed to. That's good stuff.

Berea? Nada. The sounds of silence.

Browns fans are left with reading other publications or Web sites about how poorly the club is going to perform this season. About how the club will struggle under its new coach and a roster that has been fractured almost beyond recognition since the end of last season. About the dismal outlook at quarterback with Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.

Predicting where the Browns will wind up this season (unanimously last in the AFC North) has become de rigueur. So have all those nonsensical trade rumors involving Braylon Edwards.

Outside of that, nothing.

We did, however, find out that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has experienced the highs of scaling 14,400-foot Mt. Rainier in Washington (state of) and now knows how giddy one feels when realizing a dream. Football fans are no different.

Browns fans constantly dream of scaling the heights of the AFC North. Then the heights of the playoffs. Then . . .

That's enough for now. Too much dreaming. Let's get training camp out of the way first.

We can only speculate at this point, but it appears as though the upcoming camp for the Browns will be more intriguing because of the manner in which it will be conducted. It definitely will be different.

The casual, almost laid-back atmosphere of Romeo Crennel gives way to the no-nonsense, all-business approach of Eric Mangini. With Crennel, mistakes were glossed over. With Mangini, they will not be tolerated.

Aug. 1 can't get here soon enough.

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