As we have discussed previously here on Bernie's Insiders, including in last week's Browns Uncensored chat (transcript), the Browns were among at least six teams who have been pursuing Boireau's services. Elsewhere on TheInsiders, it was reported that the Rams were also very interested in the Boireau.
Two elements of Boireau's history have been seen recently in the Browns free agents signings. First, he played for Davis with the Hurricanes, being a key part of the team that went to the Gator Bowl in 1999. Secondly, he is one of several Canadian Football League players (along with Adriano Belli and Patrick Barnes) signed by the Browns in this year's brief period for CFL players to sign with NFL teams.
But Boireau's tale is more tangled than that. Considered to be a mid-round draft choice in 2000, the Minnesota Vikings stunned observers by taking Boireau in the second round with one of the draft picks they obtained for Brad Johnson from the Redskins. The Vikings, it seemed, had timed Boireau well in the 40 and felt he was a sleeper pick.
After a 2000 season which was marred by a sprained knee and a broken hand, Boireau discovered that his face was starting to droop and that he was plagued by poor vision. It turns out that Boireau had a condition called ocular myasthenia gravis. Considered to be a career-ending malady by the Vikings, they released him in 2001.
While the disease may not be curable, it is treatable. Boireau came back, and got an opportunity to play with the Ottawa Renegades (a new Canadian franchise) in 2002. Although he was occasionally injured and had his season slowed down by the loss of a close family member, Boireau managed 22 tackles and several sacks for the Renegades.
Having once again gotten the attention of the NFL, Boireau decided to return and play for his old college coach. He will now get a chance to show the Browns what he can do in training camp. For a team that had troubles mounting an effective pass rush in 2002, he will certainly get a good look.
Since Grossi's story is the only new Browns news this morning, I've added a number of stories about Boireau and his condition to today's newswire.