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Browns notes: Backup offensive tackle Rashad Butler signs one-year contract

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 8, 2013

The Browns signed backup offensive tackle Rashad Butler to a one-year contract, the team announced Wednesday night.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. Butler, 30, became an unrestricted free agent in March.

Butler has started four of the 42 NFL games in which he has appeared. Last year, he entered training camp with the Houston Texans as the favorite to become their starting right tackle, but he lost the job to Derek Newton.

Less than a week later, Butler suffered a season-ending torn triceps muscle in his right arm Aug. 30 during the Texans’ preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings. Butler also missed 14 games the previous season with a torn triceps in his left arm.

"It's unfortunate -- a tough, tough deal," Texans coach Gary Kubiak told reporters after Butler was hurt last summer. "He comes back from the other injury, battles, does a heck of a job and handles himself like a big-time pro. You hurt for guys that work their tail off."

The Carolina Panthers picked Butler in the third round (89th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. They cut him in 2007, and he spent the past six seasons with the Texans.

The 6-foot-4, 317-pound Butler played for Browns coach Rob Chudzinski while the latter served as the University of Miami's offensive coordinator. If Butler can stay healthy, he could give the Browns depth as a backup to left tackle Joe Thomas and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

New hire

The Browns named Kevin Griffin vice president of fan experience and marketing, the team announced today.

Griffin joins the Browns after working for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer since 2004. Griffin, a Columbus native, played football for Ohio State University from 1995-98 and is the nephew of Buckeyes legend Archie Griffin.

“Providing our fans with the best possible experience is one of the major missions of our organization, and Kevin will be a big part of these plans,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said in a news release. “As we continually look to enhance our efforts in this area, having someone with Kevin’s extensive knowledge and history of success is vital in achieving our goals.”

Griffin was a four-year letterman at Ohio State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism. Griffin went on to earn his master’s degree in athletic administration from Ohio University.

Griffin served as the director of fan development for the Seahawks and Sounders.

“Kevin brings a wealth of experience in fan-related activities to our organization,” Browns President Alec Scheiner said in a news release. “He successfully developed and enhanced numerous fan programs while in Seattle, and we feel that he will be a great fit for the initiatives that we are looking to undertake with the Browns. We are focused on our fan experience and believe that Kevin can make a real difference here.”

Extra points

Former Browns wide receiver and three-time Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs recently visited the Oakland Raiders and is scheduled to meet with more teams, including the New York Jets, according to reports. Cribbs visited the Arizona Cardinals in March. And at the NFL owners meeting, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he wanted to sign Cribbs, provided Cribbs could bounce back from offseason knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Cribbs passed his physical with the Raiders and received a contract offer. Cribbs had been with the Browns since 2005, when he joined the team as an undrafted free agent from Kent State, but the new regime chose not to re-sign him. … Boise State inside linebacker Tommy Smith will try out with the Browns during their rookie minicamp, which runs Friday through Sunday, according to KTVB, an NBC affiliate in Boise, Idaho. Smith will compete with Wofford inside linebacker Mike Niam, a Hudson High School graduate, for a chance to earn a roster spot. Niam has also been invited to try out with the Browns.


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