Browns claim Oniel Cousins

The Cleveland Browns claimed former third-round offensive tackle Oniel Cousins off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Cousins' tenure with the Ravens abruptly ended Saturday when the team cut him after three seasons.

The former UTEP lineman had entered training camp with hopes of earning a starting job.

"It's a tough business, it's a tough league," coach John Harbaugh said. "There's a lot of factors that go into it in terms of who we're bringing in right now and the mix of the young guys and the veterans. I think he got squeezed out from a numbers perspective and a salary perspective."

Cousins began training camp as the starting right offensive tackle, but was demoted after having a terrible game against the Philadelphia Eagles to open the preseason where he was over-matched against defensive end Darryl Tapp.

Cousins started at right offensive guard against the Kansas City Chiefs, but was benched altogether and replaced by Mark LeVoir last week against the Washington Redskins. Cousins was playing under a $1.2 million restricted tender.

Because LeVoir has played well and the Ravens expect to have him and rookie right tackle Jah Reid as top backups, there was no real defined role for Cousins.

"How many more veteran backups can you? .. It was thought through," Harbaugh said. "It gives him a chance to get out and negotiate his deal and get him with a team. Personally, I think his future is at guard and I think he can do it.

"It's going to take an opportunity where someone has a need for that guy, and he can get in there and go to work on it. I think with our situation here with Jah being here and young and bringing in Mark, it kind of squeezed him out."

Quiet and soft-spoken, Cousins was a popular player in the locker room. He was also known for his scrappiness, getting into several fights on the practice field.

"We are all going to miss him," offensive tackle Michael Oher said. "It shouldn't be a problem finding a job, but I hate that he left."

Heading into his fourth NFL season, the native of Jamaica thought he was in line for major playing time.

"I'm not just trying to be on the roster, my goal is to be the starting right tackle," said Cousins, who dealt with a noncancerous cyst on his esophagus last year that required an operation. "I know I can do it. I believe in myself. My family believes in me and I hope the coaches believe in me, too."

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