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Whether it invades an Indians game or an L.A. nightclub, 'Manzielmania' is an unstoppable force

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 31, 2014

Johnny Manziel receives attention wherever he goes because he’s much more than a rookie competing to become the starting quarterback for the Browns. He’s a celebrity who Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has labeled a modern-day Elvis Presley.   

“Manzielmania” will invade Progressive Field on Wednesday, when Manziel and rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert will throw ceremonial first pitches before the Indians face the Boston Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. Browns running back Ben Tate will throw out the first pitch Tuesday night.

We’re excited to welcome @BenTateRB on Tuesday, & @JGil_4 and @JManziel2 on Wednesday for ceremonial first pitches before games vs. Boston!

In the meantime, Manziel spent the weekend in Los Angeles for the 20th annual NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere. The event is designed to teach rookies the business of football and marketing.

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Report: Browns WR Josh Gordon receives speeding ticket, passenger cited for possession of marijuana

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 30, 2014

Browns All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon was issued a speeding ticket Sunday and a passenger in his vehicle received a citation for possession of marijuana in an amount less than 200 grams, WKYC.com first reported today.

It is yet another incident that raises concerns about Gordon’s off-field behavior.

"We are gathering information regarding the situation," Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. "We will not have any further comment until the appropriate time."

The NFL’s leader in receiving yards in 2013, Gordon faces a potential season-long ban from the NFL stemming from a failed marijuana test, ESPN reported May 9. He is appealing in an effort to have the suspension reduced.

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Browns waive cornerback Julian Posey

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 30, 2014

The Browns waived backup cornerback Julian Posey, the team announced today.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Posey vacillated between the Browns’ practice squad and active roster last season, his first in Cleveland.

He appeared in five games and started the season finale because the defense opened the game in the nickel package. He finished the season with six tackles, including one sack.

Posey is the younger brother of former Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey, a member of the Houston Texans. The younger Posey entered the NFL by signing with the New York Jets in 2011 as an undrafted free agent from Ohio University. He appeared in two games with the Miami Dolphins in 2012.

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Podcast: Talking Johnny Manziel on and off the field and more Cleveland Browns news and notes

By Dan Kadar Published: May 30, 2014

The Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com podcast is back with Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich. On today's show, the latest on Johnny Manziel, on and off the field. We also look at the Browns' draft class as a whole and what it ultimately means for the direction of the franchise. Other topics include wide receiver Josh Gordon and the hiring of Morocco Brown as vice president of player personnel.

Here is a link back to the post

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Browns QB Johnny Manziel joining other rookies today at NFLPA event in Los Angeles

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 30, 2014

Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel isn’t participating today in the team’s sixth practice of voluntary organized team activities, but it’s not because he’s heading to Las Vegas for more partying.

Manziel left Northeast Ohio to attend the 20th annual NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles, a Browns spokesman said. The collective bargaining agreement stipulates that rookies who are invited to the premiere cannot practice with their team for the duration of the event, so Manziel obviously has the Browns' blessing to attend the orientation.

NFL Players Inc., the NFLPA’s marketing and licensing branch, hosts the three-day, invitation-only gathering, which is designed to teach rookies the business of football. It features seminars on financial planning, brand building, group player rights and social-media practices.

Those who attend will also sign trading cards, get their faces scanned for the new Madden video game and wear their official Nike team uniforms during photo shoots with trading card companies Panini America and Topps at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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Browns could be factor if Saints can't reach agreement with tight end Jimmy Graham

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 29, 2014

All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham has yet to sign the franchise tag the New Orleans Saints used on him in February. In the unlikely event Graham doesn’t work out a new deal with the Saints, former agent and CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry explained in a column published Thursday that he believes the Browns could be a suitor partly because All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon reportedly faces a potential season-long suspension from the NFL for another violation of its substance-abuse policy.

Graham could sign an offer sheet with another team, giving the Saints five days to match it. If the Saints declined to match an offer, they would receive two first-round picks, one in 2015 and another in 2016, as compensation for losing Graham.

The Browns have $25.1 million in salary-cap space, second most in the league, according to the NFL Players Association. They also have two first-round picks in next year’s draft, including one acquired during this year’s draft in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.

The NFLPA filed a grievance on Graham’s behalf this month because he was listed as a tight end for purposes of the franchise tag, but he’ll argue that he spent more time at wide receiver last season. According to ESPN.com, Graham’s snaps were divided the following way: 45 percent as a slot receiver, 33 percent as an in-line tight end and 22 percent as a wide receiver. The franchise number for tight ends is $7.053 million compared to $12.132 million for wide receivers.

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Browns formally name Morocco Brown vice president of player personnel

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 29, 2014

The Browns formally named Morocco Brown vice president of player personnel, the team announced today. The hire was reported last week, and Brown has been working out of the team's headquarters for a couple of weeks.

Below is a news release from the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns on Thursday named Morocco Brown vice president of player personnel. General Manager Ray Farmer made the announcement.

“The Browns are better today because we’ve added an exceptional evaluator of talent,” Farmer said. “In Morocco, we’re getting a tireless worker who is clearly ready for this role, as he’s had multiple GM interviews. I like that he’s a former player that knows the culture of a locker room, and I like that he knows how to grow talent at the NFL level.

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LeBron James models Nike's new Johnny Manziel T-shirt

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 29, 2014

Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has friends and business partners in high places, and one of them is LeBron James.

Manziel posted a photograph on Instagram Wednesday of James modeling Nike's new "Money Manziel" T-shirt, which carries a $30 price tag and is available for pre-sale on the apparel company's website.

In January, Manziel signed with LRMR Management, the marketing firm run by James' business partner, longtime friend and fellow Akron native Maverick Carter. LRMR and Fenway Sports Management, which partnered together in 2011, are representing Manziel jointly.

The phenom known as Johnny Football explained his decision to align with James' company Wednesday after the Browns' fifth practice of organized team activities.

"I was really close with Maverick Carter," Manziel said. "I got a chance to meet him on a trip to Toronto and got a chance to know him, a guy who I knew a lot about obviously knowing LeBron and a little bit about his story. And when it kind of came time toward the end of the season I didn't know what I'd be doing, but then really when I decided to go turn pro, I kind of got an offer from them. It wasn't like I was with a big group. It was really just LeBron and then Maverick extending the offer out to me. When you look at who the best player in the NBA is right now, you look at LeBron, somebody that is at the top of his game and does so much marketing-wise and so many good things. I felt like if I got the offer extended to me, it was really a no-brainer. And now when you look at it, them being in Akron and being from this area, it's even better."

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Browns strike deal with rookie cornerback, fourth-round draft pick Pierre Desir

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 29, 2014

The Browns have agreed to terms with cornerback Pierre Desir on his rookie contract, the team announced this morning.

The Browns drafted six players three weeks ago, and Desir is the first one to strike a deal with the team. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.

The Browns selected Desir in the fourth round (No. 127 overall) out of Division II Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. He’s expected to become an immediate special-teams contributor and provide depth behind cornerbacks Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert, the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, and Buster Skrine.

Click here for more on this story.

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Here's what coach Mike Pettine is saying about the Browns today

By George Thomas Published: May 28, 2014

On Browns LB Karlos Dansby not being at practice:

“We’re in a voluntary phase of our offseason. He has something minor, injury-wise, that he’s been dealing with, and prefers to deal with it out of town. He should be back we’re anticipating next week.”

On Browns QB Johnny Manziel’s trip to Las Vegas potentially causing concerns about his commitment:

“It doesn’t. We have a saying in the NFL: as long as it doesn’t affect your job. He was a guy that was very proactive. He let us know that he was going, and my advice to him was have fun. He’s a young guy. He’s done everything that we’ve asked. The playbook has not been an issue for him. It’s something that I know a big deal was made of it [publically], but internally, we have an expectation for all of our players outside of the building to act a certain way, and it’s really a non-issue. Just like anybody else, he’s a man, and we’re going to treat our guys like that until they prove that they need to be treated otherwise.”

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Browns rookie Johnny Manziel defends his Vegas vacation: 'I’m going to live my life to the fullest'

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 28, 2014

Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel defended his choice to party in Las Vegas this past weekend and insisted the trip doesn’t have any affect whatsoever on his commitment to an NFL career.

“I don’t live my life according to you guys [in the media] or according to what other people think of me,” Manziel said this afternoon following the Browns’ fifth practice of organized team activities. “I’m going to live my life to the fullest and continue to be committed to this game and committed to what I need to be doing here and trying to earn my place in this locker room with these coaches, with this organization. If I want to go out and have some fun and it doesn’t hinder what my main goals in life are, then I don’t really care what anybody has to say.”

The 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, Manziel is competing with incumbent Brian Hoyer for the starting quarterback job. Manziel took second-team reps today behind Hoyer and first-team reps while Hoyer sat out 11-on-11 drills for precautionary reasons as he continues his comeback attempt from a torn right anterior cruciate ligament he suffered last season. Last week, Manziel toiled with the third-team offense behind Hoyer and backup Tyler Thigpen.

Manziel’s critics believe his Vegas vacation proves that he cares more about being a celebrity than a starting quarterback in the NFL. They argue he should have been focused on studying his playbook instead of partying, but Manziel is convinced unwinding in his free time doesn’t mean he lacks dedication.

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Agent says lawsuit filed against Browns rookie Johnny Manziel is '1000000% fake and/or frivolous'

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 23, 2014

Updated at 5:20 p.m.

The circus surrounding Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel reached a new level of absurdity this morning when a phony lawsuit filed against him in Florida district court May 16 went viral online.

The raunchy complaint accuses Manizel of sexual harassment and seeks a restraining order as well as $25 million. No lawyer is listed on the suit because, well, it's a hoax.

The complaint was filed under the name of Samantha Schacher, a CNN/HLN contributor and co-host of HLN's the Dr. Drew On Call show. The address listed for Schacher in the suit is the address for CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, and the complaint includes a reference to Dr. Drew.

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New Browns receiver Miles Austin, former quarterback Bernie Kosar continue to form bond over No. 19

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 23, 2014

Had a Great Time at Dinner with A Class Person Miles pic.twitter.com/FSszZXGCus

Miles Austin is new to Cleveland, but he has quickly formed a bond with legendary Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Bracing for the NFL to possibly suspend All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon for a reported failed drug test, the Browns signed Austin and Earl Bennett last week to provide veteran reinforcements in their receiving corps.

Upon his arrival, Austin, a member of the Dallas Cowboys for the past eight seasons, wanted to wear jersey No. 19 like he had before. So out of respect for Kosar, who donned No. 19 when he helped the Browns reach back-to-back AFC Championship games during the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Austin contacted the former Pro Bowl quarterback this past weekend to ask for his blessing. The only Browns player to wear No. 19 since Kosar was cut in 1993 was wide receiver Frisman Jackson in 2004.

Kosar gave his approval and later met with Austin for dinner Thursday night.

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Browns coach on Johnny Manziel: 'We’re not going to let jersey sales determine our depth chart'

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 22, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine appeared as a guest on NFL Network's NFL AM this morning and addressed several topics.

The highlights of the interview, though, came when Pettine was asked about the team's plan for rookie Johnny Manziel, who's competing with veteran Brian Hoyer this offseason for the starting quarterback job.

Pettine said he's "not averse to playing a rookie," but he also made it clear that the Browns won't let Manziel's popularity pressure them into starting him if they feel Hoyer deserves the job. "We’re not going to let jersey sales determine our depth chart," Pettine said.

You can read the entire transcript from the interview below and click here for our story from today's newspaper about Hoyer's quest to hold off Manziel.

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Here's what coach Mike Pettine is saying about the Browns today

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 21, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine spoke to reporters today after the team's second practice of organized team activities. Below is a transcript from the news conference.

On his demeanor during practice and if he usually just observes: “That depends on how practice is going. It’s early, but that’s a typical day. I’ve always been of the mindset of let the coaches coach, and I’ll make notes during the practice. Unless I feel the need to be outspoken about something then I’ll usually stay pretty reserved during practice.”

On why DL Ahtyba Rubin wasn’t at practice: “I’m not going to go into the details, but he’s got something. Again, this comes back to the injury thing that the NFL wants us to report on injuries that we consider serious. To me, serious is something that will cause him to miss the start of training camp. I’ll just leave it at that it falls under that category. I’m not going to discuss a specific player.”

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Saints QB Drew Brees on Browns' Johnny Manziel: 'There’s no doubt the guy can win football games'

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 21, 2014

Johnny Manziel, Johnny Manziel, Johnny Manziel.

Everybody is talking about Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, and New Orleans Saints eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees joined the masses Tuesday night during an appearance on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access.

Below are some quotes from Brees provided by the network.

On Manziel: “I was here when [Reggie Bush] got drafted in 2006. That’s kind of who I equate it to just in regards to the excitement level with this player throughout the draft process. All people wanted to talk about back in 2006 was Reggie Bush and then we ended up getting him. You kind of saw all that came with that; all of the attention, all of the hype and everything else. It’s kind of hard for a player in that situation because you’re coming off that success from college and all of a sudden you’re thrown into the NFL spotlight. He’s in a situation where obviously he’s going to have a strong chance to start; I’m not sure of the quarterback battle that’s going to take place there, but I know he’s got some weapons around him. There’s no doubt the guy can win football games and he can make plays and all those things. I’m as much looking forward to watching him play as anybody.”

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Browns sign former Ohio State linebacker Larry Grant

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 21, 2014

The Browns have signed former Ohio State linebacker Larry Grant.

His agent, David Canter, broke the news Tuesday night via Twitter. The Browns announced the move this morning.

The 6-foot-1, 251-pound Grant, a veteran of six NFL seasons, participated in the Browns’ rookie minicamp this past weekend. He has primarily been a special-teams contributor and a backup inside linebacker throughout his career.

Grant has started 11 of the 68 regular-season games in which he has appeared since the San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the seventh round in 2008. He has played for the Chicago Bears, 49ers and St. Louis Rams.

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Browns sign defensive back from Pitt

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2014

The Cleveland Browns signed K’Waun Williams, a defensive back from the University of Pittsburgh, the team announced.

Williams is a 5-9, 183-pound rookie out of Pittsburgh. He appeared in 48 games with the Panthers and registered 161 tackles, 17 pass breakups and seven interceptions. 

He participated in the team's recent rookie minicamp. 

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Austin asks Kosar permission to wear No. 19

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2014

According to several reports, Miles Austin showed his knowledge and respect of Cleveland Browns history recently when he asked former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar permission to wear the No. 19.

Austin, who wore the number as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, sent Kosar a text message with the request according to Mark “Munch” Bishop of ESPNCleveland (WKNR 850 AM).

Bottom line:  Austin showed great class and making the request because he didn’t have to.  Only a wide receiver – Frisman Jackson – has worn the number since Kosar was released by then coach Bill Belichick, according to Fox Sports Ohio.

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G.M. Ray Farmer making changes in Browns front office

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2014

Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer began the process creating his staff Tuesday with the hiring of Morocco Brown as vice president of player personnel, according to multiple reports.

Brown, who held the title of director of player personnel, interviewed in recent years for several front office positions only to get passed over.  According to the Washington Post, he’s an up-and-coming NFL executive who proved his worth in signing free agents for the Washington Redskins.

With the Browns he’d be second in command of the football side of the organization, a promotion from Washington, an organization he’d been with since 2008.

Brown’s hiring isn’t the only front office change.  The Browns released two college scouts – Matt Manocherian and Brent Blaylock – Tuesday, according to reports.

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Cleveland hip hop group releases Johnny Manziel song

By Dan Kadar Published: May 20, 2014

The Johnny Manziel craze in Cleveland is vocal. Literally.

Cleveland hip hop group the Aubrey Taylor Experiment put out the song "Johnny Cleveland (Wreck This League)," and it's picking up steam online. After being released over the weekend, the song already has more than 22,000 plays on YouTube and nearly 56,000 plays on SoundCloud.

Here's are some lyrics about the song dedicated to Manziel, the Browns' second first-round pick in this year's draft:

"No. 2 on my back, man, you know the deal. He's gonna wreck this league just like he said he will. Make no mistake about it, Manziel is here to stay. Flash the money signs up, homey, lets make it rain."

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Browns sign 7 from minicamp tryouts; Pressley, Cooper, Gurley among cuts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 19, 2014

Wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Taylor Gabriel, running back Jourdan Brooks, offensive lineman Randall Harris, defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel, defensive back Robert Nelson and tight end James Oboh signed with the Browns Monday.

All seven were among the 35 players invited to last week's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

Wide receivers Josh Cooper and Tori Gurley, running back Jamaine Cook, offensive linemen Anthony Dima and Michael Philipp, fullback Chris Pressley, tight end Andre Smith and defensive lineman Elhadji Ndiaye were waived.

Pressley was thought to be a significant addition for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's attack when he was signed on April 14. Pressley started for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 and 2012; an injury kept him on the physically unable to perform list last season.

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Report: Cleveland Browns sign wide receiver Anthony Armstrong

By George Thomas Published: May 19, 2014

According to ProFootballTalk.com the Cleveland Browns have signed wide receiver Anthony Armstrong.

A journeyman, Armstrong started 11 games with the Washington Redskins in 2011, catching 44 passes for 871 yards.   The 5-foor-11,175-pound receiver last played for the Miami Dolphins in 2012 eventually having his career interrupted by injury.

Armstrong was one of a few veterans who participated in the team’s minicamp on a tryout basis this past weekend.

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Browns confirm hiring of Glenn as assistant DB coach

By George Thomas Published: May 18, 2014

The Cleveland Browns confirmed the hiring of  former Jets defensive back Aaron Glenn as a coach.

He leaves his former position as a Jets scout  to join the Browns as an assistant defensive backs coach.  A three-time Pro-Bowl selection, he spent eight seasons with the Jets, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints and owns 41 career interceptions.

“Aaron Glenn fits the mold of what we are looking for to lead our players,” coach Mike Pettine said. “He’s passionate, knowledgeable and relentless. His NFL experience and production, 205 games and 41 interceptions, gives him instant credibility in the room.”

He played 15 years in the NFL and has been a Jets scout since 2012 when Browns coach Mike Pettine served as defensive coordinator for New York.

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Johnny Manziel said he knew he wanted to be with the Browns

By George Thomas Published: May 17, 2014
Browns_01

Never has an itty bitty text message echoed so loudly across Northeast Ohio such as the one quarterback Johnny Manziel sent to his future quarterback coach on draft night.

When Cleveland Browns quarterback coach Dowell Loggains spoke on an ESPN affiliate radio station in Arkansas, it created a minor brouhaha.

In his first minicamp interview with the media, he downplayed it.

“I wouldn’t exactly call it legendary,” he said of the text message.

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Johnny Manziel era begins for Cleveland Browns

By George Thomas Published: May 17, 2014
Browns_01

Fifteen minutes into a rookie minicamp and what’s known about Johnny Manziel, the phenom that Northeast Ohio is hanging its pigskin dreams?

Not a lot.  He can hand the ball off. God knows that with his gaudy college stats (more than 7,000 yards passing, and more than 2,000 rushing) not a lot of that was seen in college.  What is definitely noticeable is that we’ve returned to the LeBron James era in the region with respect to media coverage of a pro athlete.

Even with a restriction on national media, it’s a full house in Berea and the national press is represented with the Associated Press and ESPN, who went on air live with Bob Holtzman and their Browns beat reporter Pat McManamon, former Beacon Journal sportswriter.

If this is representative of what’s to come, hold on to your seats; the ride could be wild. 

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Cleveland Browns release wide receiver Greg Little

By George Thomas Published: May 16, 2014

Thursday apparently made Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little expendable on Friday because the Cleveland Browns released the veteran wide receiver they drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft with the 59th  overall pick, the team confirmed.

The Browns took steps to shore up their receiving corps Thursday when they signed former Dallas Cowboys star Miles Austin and Earl Bennett formerly of the Chicago Bears. 

Despite the fact that the team doesn't yet know what will happen to wideout Josh Gordon regarding possibly being banned for the season for violation of the league's substance abuse policy, the moves along with the earlier addition of Nate Burleson and the signing of four undrafted free agents at the position earlier this week sealed Little’s fate.

Little represents a case in what could have been, having never reached his potential with the Browns.

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Browns QB coach: Johnny Manziel text inspires owner Jimmy Haslam to say 'pull the trigger' on trade

By George Thomas Published: May 16, 2014

 

The Cleveland Browns quarterback coach told an Arkansas radio station that team owner Jimmy Haslam pulled the trigger on the decision to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Dowell Loggains said during an interview on SportsTalk with Bo Mattingly on ESPN Arkansas 96.3 that Manziel requested the Browns draft him as his draft status continued to fall.

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Browns' Ray Farmer is taking no chances

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014

An old axiom exists for those anticipating bad news:  hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Clearly that’s what Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer is doing with respect to handling the wide receiver situation.

Earlier this week the Browns signed a group of undrafted free agents that included four wide receivers.  Prior to that they signed Nate Burleson to a contract and just today, they added two more wide receivers to the roster with signings of free agents Miles Austin (Dallas Cowboys) and Earl Bennett (Chicago Bears).

Clearly the Browns are preparing for the worst with respect to the Josh Gordon situation.  Gordon faces a year-long ban for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.   But Burleson broke the same arm that he injured when a member of the Detroit Lions last year.  While he's expected to be 100 percent for training camp, logically speaking that had to play a role in today's signings. That is to Farmer’s credit.

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Browns announce signing of WR Miles Austin (with updates)

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014

The Cleveland Browns continue to take steps to work on their problem at the wide receiver position.

The team announced that they’d agreed to terms with former Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin, even as that team’s coach, Cleveland native Jason Garrett stated that they were still open to bringing the 29-year-old veteran back after releasing him.

Austin, provided he stays healthy, could represent an insurance policy if the Browns were to lose Pro Bowl wideout Josh Gordon for the season due to a ban for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Austin’s production has slipped the past few seasons because of consistent hamstring injuries, according to reports.  But when healthy, he can impact a game with his speed and ability to get open deep.

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Report: Browns invite fullback to rookie minicamp

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014

The Cleveland Browns have invited former Cincinnati Bengal Jourdan Brooks to rookie mini-camp this weekend, the team confirmed Thursday.

Brooks, a fullback, played at Rutgers for two seasons before transferring to Morgan State for in his final two years of college football.  He spent all of last season on the Bengals practice squad in 2012 and was signed to the regular roster in January of 2013.

Brooks is 6-foot, 230-pounds. 

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Browns limiting access to Johnny Manziel understandable -- for now

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014
manziel10cut_4

No one should be surprised that the Cleveland Browns are taking steps to tamp down the media brouhaha brewing over recently drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel by limiting access of the national media at this weekend’s rookie mini-camp.

For anyone paying attention the moves have been calculated beginning from the top with owner Jimmy Haslam offering this little nugget in a Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club appearance earlier this week:

“Mike Pettine says it very well: ‘Johnny, right now you're our back-up quarterback and you need to act as such.’”

And Haslam added his thoughts about the Manziel’s celebrity.

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Browns limiting access to Johnny Manziel

By Associated Press Published: May 15, 2014
johnny-manziel-cover-sports-illustrated-2014-nfl-draft

The Browns are tackling Manzielmania. Containing it could be a lot tougher.

In an effort to minimize the frenzy around quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Browns are limiting media access to the first-round draft pick’s appearance this weekend at the team’s rookie minicamp.

The Browns are only allowing local reporters — and maybe some select national ones — to be at the former Texas A&M star’s first practice as an NFL player.

The Browns selected Manziel in last week’s draft, and already the 21-year-old has brought long-sought attention to a sleeping franchise that has had just two winning seasons in the past 15 years.

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Browns: Joe Haden transcript with Johnny Manziel comments

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014

On Haden’s contract extension: 

Browns General Manager Ray Farmer: “We’re excited to have the man to my right sitting here. Joe has been a model citizen for us. He’s the right guy. It’s the right time. Everything that we talk about playing like a Brown, explained those attributes – being positive in the community, being positive with his teammates, working hard, demonstrating how he plays at a high level – definitely warranted are the things that have transpired in the last few hours. There is obviously a business element to it. We generally don’t like to talk about contracts in the media, with regards to our players, but the business is done. We’ll let him do all the talking behind what was accomplished through that. I definitely wanted to say we’re very proud and happy to have Joe Haden be a long-term Brown, and that’s what this contract extension was about.”

Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine: “Defense is obviously something that we’re going to pride ourselves on. It’s going to be a cornerstone of this franchise moving forward, and we feel that we’ve taken a huge step in securing that in getting Joe locked up long-term. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I know the defensive coaches were all fired up when they got the news. It was something from Day 1 after watching film and then got a chance to be around Joe  and just to kind of see his passion for the game and how important it was, how much he loves being here in Cleveland, loves being a Brown, that’s infectious. It was something that we put on the to-do list early on, and we’re thrilled that we’ve been able to get it crossed off.”

On the feeling he had when signing his contract extension:

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Report: Browns sign free-agent wide receiver Earl Bennett

By George Thomas Published: May 15, 2014

The Cleveland Browns will address their need at wide receiver with the signing of Earl Bennett, a free agent who most recently toiled for the Chicago Bears. 

The 6-foot wide receiver will bolster a spot that looks increasingly suspect due to the loss of wide receiver Josh Gordon, who is facing a season-long ban for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

His signing, reported by Jake Jones of KFBB in Helena, Mont., falls in line what general manager Ray Farmer has said about the spot should Gordon be lost. He said that the Browns don’t need superstars at the position and pointed to the Seattle Seahawks as an example of that. 

Another off season acquisition, Nate Burleson, recently underwent surgery for a broken arm, but should be ready for training camp.  The Browns, however, signed four undrafted free agent receivers earlier this week. 

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Report: Browns hire former Jets DB as assistant coach

By George Thomas Published: May 14, 2014

The New York Daily News reports that the Cleveland Browns have hired former Jets defensive back Aaron Glenn as a coach.

Currently a Jets scout, Glenn will leave to join the Browns as an assistant defensive backs coach.  A three-time Pro-Bowl selection, he spent eight seasons with the Jets, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints and owns 41 career interceptions.

He played 15 years in the NFL and has been a Jets scout since 2012 when Browns coach Mike Pettine served as defensive coordinator for New York.

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Browns invite Kirtland native to rookie minicamp

By George Thomas Published: May 14, 2014

The Cleveland Browns invited former fullback Eric Kettani to this week’s rookie minicamp, according to the National Football Post.

A native of Kirtland, Kettani played for Lake Catholic High School and Navy.  He most recently was on the Kansas City Chiefs roster, but also has experience with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan while with the Washington Redskins.

The Chiefs released him this week. 

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Browns' Joe Haden: I need to play like best corner in NFL

By George Thomas Published: May 14, 2014

It’s clear that Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden has matured – so much so that the team saw fit to convey a 5-year, $68 million contract extension on him.

There was a significant take away from Haden’s press conference with the media that ended moments ago – he feels an obligation to the community.

Haden said in the press conference that he feels obligated to play like the best corner in the NFL.  Yes, he’s got 68 million reasons to do so, but one would suspect that after overcoming a couple of minor bumps in his career that he’d feel that way regardless.

The Browns, to their credit, understand that and his extension goes a long way toward showing Browns fans that they are serious about buffing off the layers of tarnish that grew on the franchise in the past 15 years.

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Browns TE Jordan Cameron hires new agent

By George M. Thomas Published: May 13, 2014

Browns Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron has hired CAA Sports to serve as his agent.

Cameron is in the final year of his contract which pays him $645,000 and so far he and the Browns have been unable to come to an agreement on an extension.

If he and the Browns are unable to come to an agreement, he can become a free agent after next season if the team doesn’t use its franchise or transition tag on him.

The latter was used for center Alex Mack recently and would allow Cameron to negotiate with teams next spring to test the free-agent market, but the Browns would have the right to match any offer.

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QB Teddy Bridgewater didn't want to play with Browns

By George M. Thomas Published: May 13, 2014

Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t let draft rumors alone.

On The Dan Patrick Show Tuesday morning, Bridgewater, who the Browns passed on in the draft on Thursday, said that he didn’t want to be in Cleveland.

The Browns took Johnny Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick and Bridgewater fell to the Vikings at No. 32.

“There was a chance but I actually told my agent that’s not the place where I wanted to be,” Bridgewater said on the show. “Throughout this entire process, I felt comfortable with the Minnesota Vikings through every visit I had with the team. It was a family environment. The players — great group of guys — so I felt comfortable wanting to play here.”

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Cleveland Browns sign cornerback Joe Haden to contract extension

By Dan Kadar Published: May 13, 2014

The Browns have signed Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden to a contract extension that will keep him in Cleveland through the 2019 season.

The contract is a five-year deal for $68 million with $45 million guaranteed.

"This is a great day for both Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns," General Manager Ray Farmer said in a release. "Joe's a good, young player who's made a commitment to our organization, and he's somebody with whom we want to move forward in order to advance our football team. He's a great person. He’s the right guy to both build with and build around as we attempt to become an elite football team."

The Browns picked Haden, 25, with the seventh pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He made his first Pro Bowl after last season and was also named an All Pro by the Associated Press.

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Browns sign 11 undrafted free agents including four receivers

By George Thomas Published: May 12, 2014

Given the Josh Gordon situation, it’s clear that wide receiver is a position of need for the Browns, especially considering they went the entire draft without selecting one.

They signed four undrafted free agents to make up for a perceived problem at that spot. General manager Ray Farmer said that he believes that there isn’t an overwhelming problem and pointed to the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahwaks as a team who succeeded without a stable of top-line receivers.

Owner Jimmy Haslam said the Browns signed for UFAs who they believe can make the team this year. Perhaps they find a receiver here:

Ray Agnew (FB), Southern Illinois; Calvin Barnett (DL), Oklahoma State; Darwin Cook (DB), West Virginia; Isaiah Crowell (RB), Alabama State; Anthony Dima (OL), Massachusetts; Chandler Jones (WR), San Jose State; Jonathan Krause (WR), Vanderbilt; Michael Phillip (OL), Oregon State; Connor Shaw (QB), South Carolina; Kenny Shaw (WR), Florida State; Willie Snead (WR), Ball State.

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Browns owner denies influencing Manziel selection

By George Thomas Published: May 12, 2014

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam quickly dispelled a Monday morning report that he was responsible for choosing Johnny Manziel.

According to a report from ESPN Cleveland (WKNR 850 AM), the Browns originally planned to draft Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but just seconds before deadline a card with Bridgewater’s name was replaced with a card with Manziel’s.

Speaking at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club, Haslam denied it:  “I thought it was very important that we take a quarterback this year," he said.  "We picked the top-rated quarterback on our board when he was available. That was solely Ray's call, not my call.”

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2014 NFL Draft: Johnny Manziel Browns jersey sales rocket to top of chart

By Darrin Werbeck Published: May 12, 2014
johnnyJersey

According to a report on ESPN.com, Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel's No. 2 jersey has surpassed all others sold since April 1.

The league wouldn't say how many Manziel jerseys were sold, but it did say that the official website store sold nearly as many Manziel jerseys across draft weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, as it sold Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Tim Tebow jerseys during their draft weekends combined.

Read the complete ESPN report here.

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2014 NFL Draft: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts after Day 3

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 10, 2014

Eleven final thoughts after a roller coaster three days in Berea, which ended with a whimper and one pick on Saturday. That by no means erased Thursday's and Friday's hysteria.

1. The Browns went into the draft with 10 picks and ended up with six players as new General Manager Ray Farmer earned the nickname “Trader Ray” from his peers in the league. Farmer made five trades and ended up with extra picks in the first, fourth and sixth rounds in 2015.

2. For those trying to nail Farmer’s tendencies in his first draft, it appears that he regards late-round picks as trading chips to move up to get players he covets, like he did trading back into the third round to nab Towson running back Terrance West. So Farmer ended up with two more chips for next year.

3. I’m waffling on whether I believe Johnny Manziel will be the starter in the Sept. 7 season opener at Pittsburgh. On Friday I said no, on Saturday I thought yes. Sticking with yes for now, I believe this draft yielded three starters – Manziel, cornerback Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State and guard/tackle Joel Bitonio of Nevada.

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Johnny Manziel buys round of drinks at favorite College Station bar

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 10, 2014

Watching the NFL Draft Thursday night in Johnny Manziel’s favorite bar in College Station, Texas proved to be a good decision for over 100 patrons.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Manziel bought Miller Lites and Fireball shots for about 122 of approximately 250 people in Chimy’s Cerveceria.

The general manager told the newspaper that Manziel stopped in last week to set up the round and leave his credit card number. He said Manziel, who will wear his Texas A&M No. 2 with the Browns, planned to spend about $2,000.

Petro Robledo told the Morning News that Manziel originally wanted to appear via Facetime, but that plan was scuttled when he dropped to No. 22 in the first round.

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Bill Belichick doesn't deny authenticity of leaked Patriots scouting report on Johnny Manziel

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 10, 2014

Bill Belichick wasn’t interested in confirming whether or not the New England Patriots’ leaked scouting report on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is authentic. In fact, the Patriots coach insists he never read all of the team's prep work on the draft.

“We probably have, I can’t even imagine, 10,000 pages of information. It’s a lot of information,” Belichick said. “There’s no way I can sit up here and tell you that I’ve read it all. I’ve read a fraction of it.”

The Patriots’ report on Manziel leaked to BroBible.com over the weekend ripped Manziel as an arrogant, spoiled brat with a fragile psyche – if coaches yelled or screamed at him, the report said Manziel would shut down. The Browns selected Manziel Thursday with the 22nd overall pick.

He was criticized in the report for not studying the game and never watching film, claimed he only knows about 60 percent of the playbook and said he attended four of 32 summer workouts last year. In addition, Texas A&M support staff members were “sick of him and ready for him to go.”

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Browns acquire CB-KR Pierre Desir with fourth-round pick

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 10, 2014

With their first pick on Saturday, No. 127 overall, the Browns selected cornerback/kick returner Pierre Desir of Lindenwood.

Desir, a native of Haiti, lost his grandfather and an eight-month old cousin in the 2010 earthquake. Desir emigrated from Haiti when he was four, his parents fleeing the country’s political unrest to give their two children a better life.

Chosen for the Cliff Harris Award given to the top small college defensive player, Desir was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American. He played his first three years at Washburn before transferring.

Desir, 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, finished his career with 25 interceptions, 13 last season. He also had 17 pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for losses. In his career, Desir totaled 27 pass breakups and nine tackles for losses.

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Browns move up to grab touchdown-machine Terrance West of Towson

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 10, 2014

BEREA: Overlooked and underappreciated most of his life, Terrance West did his best to play at a Football Bowl Subdivision school. He even worked part-time at a shoe store while attending a military academy to gain attention from larger schools.

But after failed attempts to walk on at both Maryland and Clemson, West finally settled in at little-known Towson and made a big name for himself.

The Browns traded up Friday night to select West in the third round (94th overall), giving the San Francisco 49ers their picks in the fourth round and sixth round to move up 12 spots.

West set NCAA records with 2,509 yards and 41 rushing touchdowns last season. His 86 career scores are second all time to former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, who scored 89 times at Villanova.

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Linebacker Christian Kirksey brings Browns versatility, leadership

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 10, 2014

BEREA: When asked what he knew about the Browns, linebacker Christian Kirksey never hesitated. The excitement in his voice burst through the phone line.

“Dawg pound! Dawg pound! Dawg pound!” he shouted. “I’m ready to get down there right now.”

The Browns selected Kirksey, a two-time captain at Iowa, in the third round Friday (71st overall). They were apparently higher on him than most draft analysts that projected him to go in the fourth or fifth rounds. Now he could serve as a replacement for Craig Robertson at inside linebacker.

Kirksey played mostly outside at Iowa, but did play inside as an underclassman and believes that is where the Browns want him to play now.

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MMA-fighting father taught Browns' offensive lineman Joel Bitonio toughness

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 10, 2014

BEREA: Mike Pettine has talked about creating a tough football team since taking the Browns job. To that end, he believes they took a giant step forward with the selection of Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio.

“You’re not going to stand in front of a room and say, ‘Hey, let’s get tougher,’” Pettine said. “What you do is you get tough people in that room.”

The Browns selected Bitonio in the second round (35th overall) on Friday. Bitonio has long been described as possessing a nasty streak, a reputation he embraces proudly as inherited from his late father.

Mike Bitonio was a bare-knuckled brawler who competed in the early days of Mixed Martial Arts. His day job was laying flooring, but he moonlighted as a fighter. His 1995 fight against the bigger, stronger and more accomplished Bart Vale remains legendary among early MMA fans. Vale bloodied Bitonio on a head butt during the first minute of the match, but Bitonio hung in for another six minutes while taking a severe beating that left him a crumpled, bloody mess.

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Browns' draft devoid of receivers despite seemingly pressing need

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 10, 2014

BEREA: Their star receiver could be facing a lengthy suspension and one of their newest receivers reportedly has a broken arm, but the Browns refused to address the position both during and after the draft on Friday.

Josh Gordon is expected to be suspended for the season following yet another failed drug test, according to ESPN, and Nate Burleson reportedly had surgery to repair the plate in his left arm after he injured it during a voluntary minicamp last week. Yet the Browns ignored what seemed like a pressing need during the second and third rounds of the draft, then refused to answer questions about either player during a 24-minute press conference that grew contentious at times.

Teams are prevented from commenting on suspensions until they are announced by the league, but there is nothing preventing them from confirming Burleson’s injury. Burleson did so himself in a text to the Associated Press late Friday night.

“I’m just fine,” Burleson told the AP. “I had minor surgery to fix the plate in my arm so I’ll be ready well before training camp. If today were the playoffs, I would be playing.”

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2014 NFL Draft day 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on very bizarre day

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 10, 2014

Ten final thoughts as the bizarre days in Berea just keep on coming.

1. All the energy from the drafting of quarterback Johnny Manziel Monday and his Tuesday press conference was sucked out of the building about three hours later with the report by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that Browns receiver Josh Gordon faces a possible one-year suspension for another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Browns’ front office learned of Gordon’s failed test for marijuana two weeks ago. Mortensen said via Twitter that coach Mike Pettine and his staff learned about 90 minutes before the start of the draft Tuesday.

2. The fact that Gordon was one strike away from such a ban hung over his head during his record-setting season in 2013. On his last transgression, Gordon was able to bargain his suspension down from four to two games. Gordon blamed that failed test on using cough syrup that contained codeine. If the ESPN report is true, Gordon will surely appeal. But after getting a break a year ago, I can’t see the league going easy on him for his third strike no matter if he is a rising star.

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2014 NFL Draft: transcript of Browns third-round pick Terrance West's teleconference

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 10, 2014

The Browns selected Towson running back Terrance West with the No. 94 overall pick after trading back into the third round with the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Browns gave up their fourth-round (No. 106 overall) and sixth-round (No. 180) in the deal. 

 

Below is a transcript of West's teleconference: 

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2014 NFL Draft: transcript from third-round pick Christian Kirksey's teleconference

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns selected Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey No. 71 overall in the third round Friday night. 

Below is a transcript of Kirksey's teleconference with reporters: 

 

On how much conversation he had with the Browns before the draft:

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns trade back into third round with 49ers; select Towson RB Terrance West

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014
West

The Browns traded back into the third round with the San Francisco 49ers and selected Terrance West, a running back from Towson, with the No. 94 overall pick. 

The Browns traded a fourth-round (No. 106) and sixth-round (No. 180 overall) to move up to take West. 

The Browns still haven't selected a wide receiver. 

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Browns WR Nate Burleson fractured his arm in voluntary minicamp, ESPN reports

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014
burleson

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are reporting that Browns wide receiver Nate Burleson fractured his arm during voluntary minicamp. 

Schefter, on Twitter, said that Burleson fractured it in "an accidental hit." It's the same arm Burleson injured last season. 

Head coach Mike Pettine said Burleson was excused and "in good standing with us" on the last day of voluntary minicamp. Pettine was asked directly if Burleson was hurt and only said that they spoke and that he's OK and in good standing. 

Per the report, the Browns expect Burleson to be ready by the start of training camp. 

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2014 NFL Draft: Transcript of second-round pick Joel Bitonio's teleconference with reporters

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns selected Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio with the No. 35 overall pick in the second round Friday night. 

Here's a transcript of his teleconference with reporters:

 

On what position best suits him in the NFL: 

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns select Iowa LB Christian Kirksey in third round

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014
Kirksey

 

The Browns, for the fourth time in the draft, passed on a wide receiver to address their linebacking corps with the selection of Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey with the No. 71 overall pick in the third round. 

Kirksey is most often listed as an outside linebacker but said he believes the Browns will slide him to inside linebacker.

Kirksey has a quick first-step and good speed in pursuit and in open space. The Browns continued their dedication to pass coverage with this selection, as Kirksey is known as a linebacker who can hold his own covering slot receivers and tight ends. Kirksey is limited athletically in some ways but has a reputation for a consistent motor.

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns select Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio with No. 35 pick

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns drafted Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio with the No. 35 overall selection in the second round tonight. 

The Browns, even in the midst of the Josh Gordon suspension reports, chose for the third time to overlook the wide receiver position, this time to address the offensive line. 

Bitonio is 6-foot-4, 302 pounds. Bitonio registered 38 career starts at tackle but due to his "mean streak" and ability to block "when in a phone booth," according to some, he best profiles as an offensive guard for the Browns. 

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Report: Browns WR Josh Gordon facing year-long suspension after failed drug test

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon could face a year-long suspension after a failed drug test, ESPN Outside The Lines is reporting. 

Per the report, Gordon failed a drug test months ago for marijuana use. Gordon was reached by phone, per ESPN, and said, "That's something you're going to have to talk to [agent] Drew Rosenhaus about. I really don't know anything about it."

ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Browns' front office has known about this for two weeks, but the coaching staff only found out 90 minutes ago. 

Rosenhaus has reportedly said the report is "not true." 

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2014 NFL Draft: Quick hits with Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert from news conference

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014
Browns_Johnny_Arrives_Football090e1~1

First-round picks Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert held their introductory news conference with Cleveland media today at the Browns' headquarters in Berea. 

Here are some quick highlights on what was said: 

Manziel on his game, going to the NFL: "I'm continuing to get better as a football player. I didn't go into this process thinking I had it all figured out. ... I know I need to put in an immense amount of time to be as good as I want to be."

Manziel on huge expectations: "I'm used to that." 

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2014 NFL Draft: Transcript of Browns GM Ray Farmer, HC Mike Pettine press conference

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

Browns general manager Ray Farmer and head coach MIke Pettine held a press conference with reporters following the first round of the NFL Draft. 

The Browns selected Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert and Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel in the first round, and made some trades, including one that nabbed the Buffalo Bills' 2015 first-round and fourth-round picks. 

Below is a transcript. 

On the Browns' reaction to drafting Manziel:

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2014 NFL Draft: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Browns, Johnny Manziel, Day One

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 9, 2014

1. Although I’ve covered the Browns since 1981, Thursday was the most stunning first round of the draft I’ve ever experienced. And that had nothing to do with the emotional ebb and flow as new Browns general manager Ray Farmer orchestrated three trades, then passed over quarterback Johnny Manziel with the eighth overall pick after the first two deals. Considering the lateness of the hour, it’s a wonder I didn’t scream like I did when the Browns selected University of Akron quarterback Charlie Frye right on deadline.

2. Not only did Farmer land Manziel at No. 22, but he picked up Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert to pair opposite Joe Haden, acquired the Buffalo Bills’ first-round pick in 2015 and kept No. 35 in the second round. I thought any trade would cost them No. 35.

3. The Bills paid a hefty price for receiver Sammy Watkins, who will be EJ Manuel’s go-to receiver, and that price also included a fourth-rounder in 2015. That seemed like a fleecing of the Bills.

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2014 NFL Draft: Best players available for Browns in second round (No. 35 overall)

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns have already selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Their next pick will be No. 35, the third pick of the second round. 

Remaining needs include wide receiver, offensive guard, offensive tackle and possibly inside linebacker. 

Here are the top available wide receivers still on the board: 

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2014 NFL Draft: First-round results, headlines, best drafts

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

As expected, the first round of the 2014 NFL draft was a wild one, especially in Cleveland. 

The first two picks went largely as expected, and then things got interesting very quickly. 

Here's a review of the most notable headlines and selections from the first round, not including the Browns' selections at No. 8 and No. 22. 

No. 1 Houston Texans — The Texans ultimately chose largely considered the draft's best talent, South Carolina defensive Jadeveon Clowney, with the No. 1 overall pick. They'll pair him along with J.J. Watt to form truly one of the best combinations not only as pass rushers but at any position in the league. How teams will block both Watt and Clowney will surely be a challenge. 

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2014 NFL Draft: Transcript of first-round pick Johnny Manziel's press conference with reporters

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns made a huge splash by picking Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with the No. 22 overall selection in the first round of Thursday's NFL Draft. Manziel spoke with the media via conference call following the pick. 

Below is a transcript: 

On watching 21 players be drafted ahead of him:

“I knew the TV part of it was going to come. I knew that would be part of it. For me, it was a little nerve-racking, but at the same time, I went into the situation telling myself that everything would happen for a reason, that I would land wherever I did tonight for a purpose. Whether I thought or knew the situation, I thought it would all work out for me, and I truly believe leaving here tonight that the situation did work out for me. I’m in a great place.”

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2014 NFL Draft: Transcript of first-round pick Justin Gilbert's conference call with reporters

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 9, 2014

The Browns selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Gilbert spoke with reporters via conference call following the selection. 

Below is a transcript: 

On being drafted by Cleveland and playing with Joe Haden: 

“It’s a dream come true. I became friends with him not too long ago, and he’s a great guy to be around. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from him.”

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns select QB Johnny Manziel No. 22 overall

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

The Browns traded up again in the first round and made the biggest splash of the draft by selecting quarterback Johnny Manziell with the No. 22 overall pick. 

Manziel is the uber-popular former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback known for his ability to be a playmaker with his arm and legs. But he's also known for his antics off the field. 

The Browns moved up from No. 26 to No. 22 in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and gave up a third-round pick (No. 83 overall) to do it. 

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Updated: 2014 NFL Draft: Where the Browns currently stand in the draft

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

We're through the first round of the NFL Draft. Here's where the Browns stand with some quick analysis and news. You might have heard they took a certain QB from a certain Texas-based school. 

The Browns Thursday night added:

— CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (No. 8 overall)
— QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (No. 22 overall)
— The Buffalo Bills' first-round pick in 2015
— The Buffalo Bills' fourth-round pick in 2015

To do this, the Browns  moved up and down in the first round and lost one of their two third-round picks (No. 83 overall) in the deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, which led to the bombshell Manziel pick. 

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns select Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert with No. 8 pick after second trade

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

After moving down from No. 4 with the Buffalo Bills, the Browns moved up one spot with the Minnesota Vikings to No. 8 overall. 

With that pick, the Browns selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. 

The Browns swapped first-round picks and gave up their fifth-round pick (No. 145 overall) to the Vikings. 

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Browns trade No. 4 pick to the Buffalo Bills for No. 9 selection, 2015 1st/4th rounders

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

As they were on the clock, the Browns traded the No. 4 overall selection to the Buffalo Bills, who own the No. 9 pick. 

The Browns received the Bills' No. 9 pick this year, and their first- and fourth-round picks next year. 

That's quite a haul for only moving back five spots in a deep draft. 

The Bills then took Sammy Watkins. 

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Reports: Browns' $100,000 QB study favors Teddy Bridgewater

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 8, 2014

The Browns' new emphasis on advanced analytics may help them find their quarterback of the future.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, reporting from Browns headquarters, said the team spent $100,000 on a study of quarterbacks and it concluded that Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is the best signal-caller in the 2014 NFL Draft.

According to Paolantonio, the study was commissioned by former CEO Joe Banner and just recently completed.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports first reported the study Wednesday in a feature story on Bridgewater.

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Poll: Which scenario do you prefer for Browns tonight?

By Ron Ledgard Published: May 8, 2014

Which scenario do you prefer for the Browns in the first round?

Show result

Report: Canton shows interest in hosting NFL Draft

By George Thomas Published: May 7, 2014

NFL source tells me the following cities have applied to host draft: New Orleans, Boston, Philly, Orlando, Chicago, L.A. and Canton, Ohio.

According to reports the City of Canton would be one of many to put in a bid to host the NFL Draft should it go on the road as has been speculated recently.

According to the New York Post’s Bart Hubbuch, Canton along with Boston, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia, Orlando, Chicago and Los Angeles have expressed interest in hosting the annual event.

The idea of it coming to Canton is not new, said Joe Horrigan vice president, communications and exhibits and the Hall of Fame expressed interest before.

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Bill Polian on Browns: 'All is not dark in Cleveland ... but it all comes back to the trigger man'

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 5, 2014

Former NFL executive Bill Polian conducted a conference call today and shared his thoughts about the Browns’ Ray Farmer embarking on a quest for a franchise quarterback in his first draft as a general manager.

The Browns will likely use one of two first-round picks (Nos. 4 or 26 overall) or an early second-round selection (No. 35 overall) on a quarterback. The draft will run Thursday through Saturday.

Below is an excerpt from the conference call with Polian, a former GM of the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. 

“I’ve said numerous times I don’t know what a franchise quarterback is,” Polian said. “What you’re looking for is a quarterback who’s good enough to get your team to the playoffs, and in doing so, be able to win your division. Anything that happens after that is a function of the strength of your overall squad. If you’re fortunate enough to get a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady or a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers, that’s an added bonus. You don’t go looking for those guys, they find you if they’re out there. Just as Andrew [Luck] and RG III stood out so dramatically.

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2014 NFL Draft: Browns GM exploring possibility of obtaining a 3rd pick in first round, report says

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 5, 2014

The Browns already have two first-round draft picks (Nos. 4 and 26 overall), but Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported General Manager Ray Farmer is exploring a potential hat trick.

Farmer has asked at least one team low in the first round about moving up from early in the second round (No. 35 overall) back into the opening round, King wrote in his most recent Monday Morning Quarterback column.

King speculated that Farmer could be interested in striking such a deal because it would allow him to move ahead of the Houston Texans for a quarterback. The Texans have the first pick in each of the seven rounds, including the first choice of the second round (No. 33 overall).

King also mentioned the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks as a logical trade partner for the Browns in the aforementioned scenario. The Seahawks have the last pick in the first round (No. 32 overall) and would save about $1.4 million over the life of a four-year contract if they took a player at No. 35 instead of three slots earlier.

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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam set to speak to Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 2, 2014

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is scheduled to speak to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club on May 12 at Tozzi’s on 12th restaurant in Canton.

Haslam will undoubtedly share his thoughts on the NFL Draft, which will end two days before his appearance.

Lunch will be served starting at 11 a.m. with the program running from 12:10-1 p.m. Tickets are $12 for members of the Hall of Fame luncheon club and $22 for non-member guests of members.

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Here's what coach Mike Pettine is saying about Browns today

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 1, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters following the final practice of the team's voluntary veteran minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

On if the team achieved its goals this week: “I think we’re off to a good start. We had in the very first meeting just laid out some objectives that we wanted. One of the biggest ones was to establish the tempo, how we were going to get out of the huddle, how we were going to fly around on both sides of the ball. I think a lot of it is teaching them how to practice at a certain pace and a certain way to protect each other, to be good teammates who are not on the ground a lot and there’s not a lot of contact. I think when you learn to practice that way, then you can get a lot done in shorts. I think there’s some teams that don’t get a lot done because they don’t have a good feel for how to go at full speed but still protect each other. Then, I think it was a continuation of learning the system and learning the drills, getting to know their coaches, what the expectations are. As I told them when we just broke down that we’re getting ready to swim across the Atlantic, and we’ve just took just taken one step in, that we have so far to go, but it was a good first step.”

On if the Browns will pick up DL Phil Taylor’s fifth-year option: “Yeah, that’s something that we’ve discussed. That’ll be a part of the meeting again this afternoon, but that’s something more for (Browns General Manager) Ray (Farmer). Anything that’s contractual that has to do with a player in that sense, I’ll defer that to Ray.”

On if the Browns fear what Taylor’s attitude might be without picking up his fifth-year option: “It hasn’t occurred yet so I’m not going to deal in a hypothetical situation, but that’s something you certainly take into account when you have those option years.”

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Browns sign quarterbacks Vince Young, Tyler Thigpen, plus linebacker Zac Diles

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 1, 2014

Updated at 3:28 p.m.

The Browns are restocking quarterbacks seven weeks after they cut two on the same day.

The franchise signed quarterbacks Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen along with linebacker Zac Diles today, the team announced. General Manager Ray Farmer reset the position to a large extent March 12 by cutting Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell and then announcing the moves about 35 minutes apart.

Young, Thigpen and Diles tried out with the Browns during their three-day voluntary veteran minicamp, which wrapped up this afternoon.

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