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Jurevicius released

By Marla Ridenour Published: March 11, 2009

Joe Jurevicius' dream of playing one more season in his hometown ended Wednesday when the Browns terminated the contract of the 11-year veteran receiver.

Jurevicius, 34, underwent seven surgeries on his right knee in 2008, starting with a routine arthroscopic procedure in January. About 10 days later he contracted a staph infection that he said required five cleanouts. In December, he went to Birmingham, Ala. for No. 7, this time by noted orthopedist James Andrews.

After general manager George Kokinis and coach Eric Mangini took over in January, the Browns approached Jurevicius to renegotiate his contract that was to pay him $2.4 million in 2009. But the talks could not reach a consensus.

Offensive lineman Ryan Tucker, who had hip surgery and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last year, was given the same choice with a contract that was to pay him $3.25 million in 2009. Tucker renegotiated.

In a statement released by his agent, Jurevicius said, ''I always hoped to finish my career in brown and orange with my family and friends in the stands and was even willing to take a steep pay cut to keep that dream alive, which is why I have such a heavy heart today.

''Though I will miss not suiting up as a Cleveland Brown one more time, I will forever cherish the three seasons that I spent here and will never forget the chills I got whenever I stepped foot on the field on the shores of Lake Erie. Thanks to Mr. Lerner, the coaching staff and the rest of the Browns organization for the joy and privilege of playing for my beloved hometown team. Most of all I must thank the entire city of Cleveland and Browns fans everywhere for the overwhelming support they have shown me throughout my time here, especially the past 14 months.

''I know there is still plenty of good football left in me, so please don't throw any dog biscuits my way when I return to Cleveland Stadium.''

Meanwhile, free agent visits continued as St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Adam Goldberg spent the day in Berea Wednesday, then departed. Goldberg, 6-foot-7 and 318 pounds, is a seven-year veteran who has played both tackle and guard.

Spending three years in Cleveland and playing two, Jurevicius caught 90 passes for 1,109 yards and six touchdowns for the Browns. In 2007, he ranked third in the NFL with 29 third-down receptions.

''These types of decisions are always difficult ones, especially with someone like Joe, who has meant a great deal to the Cleveland Browns organization and to the fans of Cleveland,'' Kokinis said in a statement. ''Eric (Mangini) and I have had extensive conversations with Joe and his representatives. In the end we were unable to reach an agreement that was in the best interests of both parties. We want to thank Joe for his contributions to the Browns and wish him the best of luck in the future.''

Jurevicius grew up in Cleveland and attended Lake Catholic High School in Mentor. He said his drives past the municipal parking lot on Browns game days fueled his desire to play again.

''When you see No. 84s out there, when you see the smoke from the barbecues, or people fighting, that's what I miss. I don't want to give up,'' he said late last season.


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