Verba wears out welcome

Former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Ross Verba was released by the Browns last week, leaving many in the Cleveland organization relieved. Especially new head coach Romeo Crennel.

"He had a history off the field," Crennel said. "I wasn't too crazy about that to be honest with you. The best thing for the team was to move him out."

Verba, 31, played four seasons (2001-04) in Cleveland and started 47 regular season games and one playoff contest for the Browns. He missed the entire 2003 season after suffering a right bicep tendon injury in the final preseason game vs. Atlanta (Aug. 28, 2003).

Originally selected by Green Bay in the first round (30th overall) in the 1997 NFL Draft, Verba has played eight NFL seasons with the Packers (1997-2000) and Browns (2001-04). He played mainly left tackle his first three seasons with the Packers before moving to left guard in 2000.

He was signed by Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2001. The Browns gave him a $5 million signing bonus as part of a four-year, $16 million deal.

Verba apparently had a way of rubbing some people the wrong way in Cleveland. In May, he threatened to hold out, demanding a $35 million minimum contract package, and skipped a Browns' minicamp. He was scheduled to be paid $2.9 million this season and received a $465,000 roster bonus in early March. Verba reportedly gave the roster bonus back to the Browns.

Verba never got in trouble off the field, but Crennel obviously isn't too impressed with the company he keeps and the way he squeaks. Same with Browns management.

"We felt this decision was in the best interest of both the Browns and Ross," Browns Senior Vice President and General Manager Phil Savage said. "With the return of Ryan Tucker, Jeff Faine and Melvin Fowler, and the addition of free agents Joe Andruzzi, Cosey Coleman, L.J. Shelton and Marcus Spears, we're excited and confident in our offensive line."

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