Center LeCharles Bentley left the Browns facility in Berea with a suitcase at lunchtime Wednesday and general manager Phil Savage later confirmed that Bentley had asked for and received his release.
Bentley did not show up for a morning team meeting, but spoke with Savage and coach Romeo Crennel after the first of two minicamp practices and they granted his request.
''The landscape of our team has changed from July, 2006,'' Savage said. ''We want to wish him the best of luck in his pursuits, whatever they are. He's indicated he wants to play this year. There's no way for us to know whether he can or cannot.
''As far as the Browns and LeCharles, this is a chapter that finally comes to an end. We've got some closure to it now. We can go our separate ways in a positive manner and focus on the '08 season and training camp.''
Bentley's agent, Jonathan Feinsod, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Bentley spoke to reporters outside before being picked up by his mother. Asked if he'd asked for his release, he smiled and said, ''Would I do that?'' Asked about supposed bad blood between him in the Browns, he said, ''Not any more.''
Bentley suffered a torn patellar tendon on the first play of training camp in 2006 and contracted a staph infection that he said was life-and-limb threatening and required three more surgeries.
''It was a unique circumstance in terms of him being a local icon, playing at St. Ignatius and Ohio State, it was going to be the trifecta in playing for the Browns,'' Savage said. ''It just didn't work out.
''It was a big disappointment for everybody, particularly him. He's got great pride in the kind of player he had been prior to getting here. He's got expectations and goals of trying to reach that level again. It's going to be somewhere else, apparently, at this point.''
Bentley, 28, a Pro Bowler in New Orleans, Pro Bowler passed the Browns' physical Monday night, along with a running test that consisted of a series of 20 40-yard dashes. Savage said Bentley had also been cleared to play by his own doctor in New York.
Savage said he did not know what happened between Monday night and Wednesday morning. Bentley spoke to reporters Tuesday and hinted that he wasn't sure about his future in Cleveland.
''We've already gotten a note from his agent,'' Savage said. ''We have a good relationship with those two guys. They've indicated they appreciate the way things were handled.''