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Browns pried away Fujita with $8 million

By Marla Ridenour Published: March 8, 2010

It seemed like a surprise for linebacker Scott Fujita to leave the New Orleans Saints for the Browns Sunday, especially after Fujita again professed his love for the city in Sunday's Times-Picayune.

But the Browns made it happen, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, by giving Fujita $8 million guaranteed in his three-year, $14 million contract. King writes in his ''Monday Morning Quarterback'' that Fujita wouldn't have received half that in re-signing with the Super Bowl champions. The Times-Picayne reported Monday that Fujita could receive as much as $16 million if he reaches all his incentives.

Fujita was praised by a New Orleans newspaper columnist Sunday for donating half of his $82,000 in playoff earnings to the preservation of the Louisiana coastline and to Haitian relief efforts.

On Monday, Saints coach Sean Payton said of Fujita, according to the Times-Picayne, "In this profession, you know in the end it's an equation. What are you going to do with Jahri Evans and Darren Sharper and Scott Fujita and other players and all of that comes into play at this time of year. How are you going to allocate your dollars?"

But Payton said it was tough to see Fujita go because of their connections that go back to 2005 in Dallas.

"Scott was the first player I brought here," Payton told the Times-Picayune. "We even have the same agent. There are all kinds of connections here. He'll be missed here, but I'm thrilled he has this opportunity in Cleveland."

In an e-mail Sunday night to the Times-Picayne, Fujita called the signing ''bittersweet."

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