Former Browns director of college scouting John Spytek will join the Denver Broncos in a similar role, the Denver Post reported today.
Spytek will reunite with ex-Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, who is the Broncos’ new director of pro personnel. The Browns’ new regime fired Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur a day after the team ended the 2012 season with a record of 5-11. Spytek was fired May 1.
Spytek spent the past three seasons with the Browns and served as one of Heckert’s top lieutenants. Before joining the Browns, Spytek worked with Heckert for five seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ personnel staff.To read more or comment...
The Browns signed inside linebacker Tommy Smith today as an undrafted free agent from Boise State University, the team announced.
The Browns also waived undrafted rookie wide receiver Perez Ashford, a product of Northern Illinois University and Shaker Heights High School.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Smith participated in the Browns’ rookie minicamp May 10-12 on a tryout basis. Smith appeared in 48 games for Boise State, compiling 122 tackles, four pass breakups and one sack. As a senior, Smith earned All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention honors after ranking third on the team with 55 tackles.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters after organized team activities today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “Good morning. It’s starting to feel a little bit like training camp out here, it’s heating up a little bit. We had a good week of OTAs this week. We really focused on situational football. We worked some of our short yardage. We worked some of our goal-line - we will work some of that tomorrow – the four minute situation and a backed up situation. We’ve got good work on that. I’ve been pleased with the focus with these guys. We’ve thrown a lot at them. That’s been by design that we’ve put a lot on their plates in teaching and throwing a lot at them and seeing how they apply on the field in the OTA setting. Obviously, we are finishing up with OTAs this week. Next week we won’t be installing anything new for the minicamp. We will just be working through the minicamp with the same things that we’ve done. We’ll give those guys a chance to go out and execute, play fast and see how they can do that. Then the next step would be training camp. That’s where we really get a chance to work the physical part of football, the techniques and the fundamentals that we want to work on. That’s really where we are at. Again, I’ve been pleased with the OTAs as a whole with the progress we have been able to make. I’m looking forward to minicamp and really looking forward to when we can put the pads on in training camp.
“On a side note with Jim Brown and him being back with the organization, I am really excited about that. I had the chance to get to know Jim when I was here before. He is a fantastic person and all the things that he has done for the Browns and for the community and a lot of communities around the country. That says a lot about the type of person that he is. I am certainly excited about him being back here and being a part of the Browns.”
(On how Trent Richardson is doing and if he is coming along)- “Good, he’s coming along. We’ll just wait and see until we get closer to minicamp next and see what his participation level with be at that time. Again, we are being conservative with him.”To read more or comment...
Browns running back Trent Richardson continued to sit out organized team activities today, but he downplayed the significance of the strained muscle in his right shin.
“It ain’t no biggie,” Richardson said. “Ain't nothing to worry about. I could be out there, but they want to be cautious about it and make sure I’m healthy.”
Richardson said he doesn’t know whether he’ll participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp June 4-6. Coach Rob Chudzinski said he hasn’t made a final decision, though the team will be conservative this time of year with Richardson.
“We’re going to be cautious about it,” Chudzinski said. “But we’ll see early next week.”To read more or comment...
Two employees of the truck stop chain owned by the family of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam pleaded guilty today in a federal probe of the company's business practices.
Regional sales director Arnold Ralenkotter pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tenn. Regional accounts representative Ashley Smith Judd also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
They are the first to be charged in the investigation. Federal prosecutors allege members of Pilot's sales team deliberately withheld rebates to boost Pilot profits and pad sales commissions.
Pilot Flying J spokesman Tom Ingram has issued the following statement: “The statements released by the federal court today do not come as a surprise given what we’ve been learning in our own internal investigations, but are nonetheless disappointing. We want to assure our customers that we are taking every step to correct any wrongdoing that has occurred and to make certain that it does not happen again.”
Haslam, who bought the Browns from Randy Lerner for about $1 billion last year, has insisted he didn't know about any fraud scheme being run by his company.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam named Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown the organization’s new “special adviser” this morning during a news conference at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Haslam said Brown will be involved with the community and the fan base. Brown also said he will serve as a mentor to current Browns players, and his Amer-I-Can program will remain active.
“Player engagement is where you’ll see me most of the time,” Brown said.
There was a rift between Brown, 77, and the team after former President Mike Holmgren removed Brown as adviser to Randy Lerner in 2010. But after Haslam purchased the Browns from Lerner last year for about $1 billion, Brown expressed his desire to become part of the new regime’s plans. In September, Brown and Haslam began discussing a formal reunion.To read more or comment...
Browns CEO Joe Banner announced today that Bon Jovi will perform during a “Fan Kickoff Concert” July 14 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Michael Stanley and the Resonators will open for Bon Jovi.
“We are elated that Bon Jovi has chosen to make Cleveland a part of this exciting and successful tour,” Banner said in a news release. “This will be great for the city’s visibility and is an indication that it is fast becoming a destination spot for large-scale events such as this one. We believe that FirstEnergy Stadium will be a tremendous host for an event of this magnitude, and we look forward to having more in the future as part of our business model.”
“We feel as though this exhibits Bon Jovi’s passion for the city and the city’s passion for the group,” Browns President Alec Scheiner said in the release. “Being able to facilitate an event like this shows the commitment we have made to our fans and all residents of Northeast Ohio. We can’t think of any better way to spend a summer night than at FirstEnergy Stadium for an event that is sure to be a thrill for everyone.”
Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. June 3. Tickets will be available at all Ticketmaster retail outlets throughout metro Cleveland as well as the FirstEnergy Stadium ticket office. Tickets will also be available online at Ticketmaster.com and by phone at 800-745-3000.To read more or comment...
The NFL announced the move of the draft from the end of April to early May. Next year the draft will be May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The league announced some other key dates, too.
Here is the NFL release:
2014 NFL DRAFT TO BE HELD MAY 8-10
AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL IN NEW YORK
NFL teams were notified today that, due to a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall, the 2014 NFL Draft will be held on May 8-10 in New York at Radio City.
The decision was made after discussions with club personnel and key NFL business partners. No decision has been made regarding the dates of the NFL Draft in 2015 and beyond. A variety of alternatives are being explored, teams were told, including holding the draft at Radio City or at other locations, either in the New York area or in other cities.
The NFL clubs also were informed that there would be no significant changes in the dates of other off-season events next year:
* Several Regional Combines will be held on various dates from January 24 through February 16, 2014. Some Regional Combines may be held after the National Combine in Indianapolis.
* The National Combine in Indianapolis will be held from February 18-25, 2014.
* The new League Year, and the Free Agency period, will begin on March 11, 2014.
* The Annual Meeting will be held in Orlando, Florida, on March 23-26, 2014.
The change in the date of the 2014 Draft will have no effect on when rookies may begin to report to their clubs, the dates of off-season programs, or the length of off-season programs. Clubs will have available to them the same number of practice days that they currently have and no changes in the off-season calendar are being considered that would reduce the number of practice days or the overall length of the off-season program. At this time, changes are not anticipated in the off-season calendar for 2015 and beyond that would reduce the number of practice days or otherwise limit the off-season program.
The Browns will announce Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown’s new role with the organization during a news conference at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Brown are scheduled to attend the news conference.
In March at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix, Haslam said Brown would re-join the franchise in an official capacity.
“I think we’ve established a really good relationship,” Haslam said March 19. “I think sometime over the next two or three weeks, we’ll formalize that relationship and Jim will play the appropriate role with the Cleveland Browns. I think he feels good about it. We feel good about it, and I think rightly so. I’ve really enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet and know him, not just as the former football great player, but as a man.”To read more or comment...
The Browns have signed rookie offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey to a four-year contract, the team announced today.
The Browns picked Gilkey in the seventh round (No. 227 overall) of this year’s draft. He started 34 of the 37 games in which he appeared at Chadron State University, where he played left tackle. He received All-America honors and was one of three Division II players invited to the Senior Bowl.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Gilkey has been working at guard with the Browns during organized team activities.
Gilkey is the second member of this year’s draft class to sign his rookie contract with the Browns. Former Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter, a sixth-round pick, also signed a four-year deal with the team this week.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters today after an organized team activity practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “We had a good week. I’m pleased with what we got done. A lot of it we focused on situational work again and this week we got more into red zone, two minute situations. We worked that really all week long was red zone. We got a lot of work there. Then the last two days we have worked two minute situations and have done that. I feel good about the progress we are making. We are covering a lot. The energy has been great. We are making our way.”
(On what made them bring Brian Hoyer in)- “He was available and we decided to bring him in. He is a guy who has had experience. He has been around. With our situation right now, you don’t have enough reps to split, they are split a lot of different ways. Having a guy who has had some experience and knows how to play and has been on NFL teams helps.”
(On how Hoyer has looked this week)- “It’s early. He has picked things up quickly and he has a good feel.”To read more or comment...
Quarterback Brian Hoyer didn’t need directions to the Browns’ training facility after he signed a two-year deal with the team May 17.
After all, Hoyer, a North Olmsted native and St. Ignatius High School graduate, is home.
“Obviously when you’re a kid growing up and you dream about playing professional sports, you dream about playing for your hometown team,” Hoyer said this afternoon following a session of organized team activities. “It really is … a dream come true. I always grew up wanting to be Bernie Kosar and now to get a chance to play quarterback for the Browns, it’s definitely an exciting time.”
Hoyer is third on the Browns’ depth chart behind incumbent starter Brandon Weeden and nine-year veteran Jason Campbell. The majority of Hoyer’s reps were with the third-team offense, but he also worked a little bit with the second unit, completing a 5-yard touchdown pass to running back Montario Hardesty during an 11-on-11 drill.To read more or comment...
Running back Trent Richardson and tight end Jordan Cameron are not practicing today during organized team activities, a Browns spokesman said.
Richardson is sidelined with a strained lower-leg muscle in his shin, and Cameron is sitting out with a strained groin muscle.
The Browns will practice from 10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. today. Coach Rob Chudzinski and players are scheduled to be available for interviews afterward.To read more or comment...
The Browns signed wide receiver Tori Gurley and waived fourth-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, the team announced this morning.
The release of Lewis, which was first reported Wednesday night, came less than one week after the Browns signed quarterback Brian Hoyer and inserted him into the third slot on their depth chart. Reporters will get their first look at Hoyer, a North Olmsted native and St. Ignatius High School graduate, with the Browns when organized team activities (OTAs) resume at 10:45 a.m. today in Berea.
The 6-4, 230-pound Gurley signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Jan.1 and was waived on May 13. Last season, he spent time on the practice squads of the Minnesota Vikings (three weeks), Oakland Raiders (one week), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (two weeks) and San Diego Chargers (three weeks).
Gurley spent the entire 2011 season on the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent from the University of South Carolina. He tallied 75 career receptions for 905 yards and six touchdowns in two collegiate seasons.
The Browns have waived fourth-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
Pro Football Talk first reported the move tonight.
Lewis’ departure was foreshadowed by the Browns signing quarterback Brian Hoyer on Friday and inserting him into the third slot of their depth chart behind incumbent starter Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
Lewis made his NFL debut and lone start Dec. 30 in the Browns’ season-ending, 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lewis completed 22-of-32 passes (68.8 percent) for 204 yards and one touchdown with an interception for a passer rating of 83.3.To read more or comment...
Former Boise State linebacker Tommy Smith has not signed with the Browns after all, but a deal could still be reached in the future, his agents said.
KLASS Sports, the agency that represents Smith, said Tuesday that its client traveled to Cleveland Monday night and signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent the following day. However, KLASS conceded this afternoon that its announcement was premature.
Although the Browns flew Smith to Cleveland, they never finalized a contract with him. Smith left town today, though he still might eventually join the team depending on the makeup of its roster as the offseason unfolds.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Smith, an inside linebacker, participated in the Browns’ rookie minicamp May 10-12 on a tryout basis. As a senior last season, Smith started all 13 games for Boise State. He finished third on the team with 61 tackles, including four for loss and a sack.To read more or comment...
Jimmy Haslam, whose purchase of the Browns was unanimously approved in October, apologized to fellow NFL owners for the negative attention an ongoing federal investigation targeting his family business, Pilot Flying J, has brought upon the league, USA Today’s Jarrett Bell reported.
Since the FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided the headquarters of Pilot Flying J April 15 in Knoxville, Tenn., Haslam has issued several apologies and denied his knowledge of an alleged fraud scheme the FBI says cheated trucking-company customers out of millions of dollars of rebates they were promised for buying certain amounts of diesel fuel.
Haslam, the CEO of Pilot Flying J, continued to maintain his innocence while explaining his side of the story to his NFL brethren Tuesday during the league meetings in Boston, according to the report. He addressed the other owners for about five minutes before a lunch break. It wasn’t on the agenda, but Haslam asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if he could speak to the group.
“I thought it was important,” Haslam told USA Today. “We're partners in the NFL. I wanted to address them face-to-face.”To read more or comment...
The Browns announced they have claimed undrafted rookie running back Miguel Maysonet off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles and waived undrafted rookie running back Jamaine Cook, a product of Midpark High School and Youngstown State University.
The Eagles signed Maysonet, a former Stony Brook University standout, after last month’s draft and then cut him Monday.
As a senior last season, the 5-foot-9, 209-pound Maysonet rushed for 1,964 yards and 21 touchdowns. As a junior, he ran for 1,633 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Maysonet would join a crowded stable of running backs in Cleveland. The Browns have Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya, Brandon Jackson and Dion Lewis on their roster.To read more or comment...
The Browns announced they signed rookie free safety Jamoris Slaughter, a sixth-round draft pick from Notre Dame, to a four-year contract in addition to signing two undrafted free agents, wide receiver Michael Edwards and safety Kenronte Walker.
The Browns waived free safety Eric Hagg, linebacker Ryan Rau and undrafted rookie running back Robbie Rouse. They also re-signed running back Brandon Jackson to a one-year contract, a previously reported move.
Hagg, a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, started the first two games of the 2012 season before he was demoted. He later started the final two games of the season after T.J. Ward, Tashaun Gipson and Usama Young suffered injuries.
This offseason, the Browns have inserted Gipson into the top slot on their depth chart at free safety. Ward is locked in as the starting strong safety.To read more or comment...
The Browns will waive free safety Eric Hagg today, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com first reported the news.
Hagg, a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, started the first two games of the 2012 season before he was demoted. He later started the final two games of the season after T.J. Ward, Tashaun Gipson and Usama Young suffered injuries.
This offseason, the Browns have inserted Gipson into the top slot on their depth chart at free safety. T.J. Ward is locked in as the starting strong safety.To read more or comment...
Former Boise State linebacker Tommy Smith signed with the Browns today after participating in rookie minicamp earlier this month on a tryout basis, KLASS Sports, the agency that represents Smith, told the Beacon Journal in an email.
The Browns have yet to announce the move.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Smith, an inside linebacker, arrived in Cleveland on Monday night and signed his contract today before practicing with the Browns as they resumed organized team activities (OTAs), according to KLASS Sports.
This week’s block of OTAs runs today through Thursday. Only Thursday’s practice is open to the media.To read more or comment...
Former Browns wide receiver and three-time Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs recently signed with the Oakland Raiders, and he discussed his departure from Cleveland during an interview Monday with NFL Network’s NFL Total Access.
Here are some highlights from the conversation:
On his thoughts regarding his eight years in Cleveland:“I have to top that … here in Oakland. I feel like I had a great, successful run in Cleveland. I have a fresh start now, so I’m anxious to get at it, anxious to get back out there on the football field.”
On if he is mad that he wasn’t able to finish his career in Cleveland: “I had some great times in Cleveland – it [was] just a lot of turnover among the organization. I had four or five head coaches, four or five GMs, five different offensive playbooks, two different owners. I’m looking for some stability. I am upset I wasn’t able to finish my career in Cleveland; love the fan base, but at the same time this is an opportunity right now for a fresh start. Change can sometimes be a good thing and I think it will be.”To read more or comment...
Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner expressed faith in quarterback Brandon Weeden and said the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft deserves more credit than he receives for the good things he did as a rookie. Turner discussed his hopes for Weeden, the team's recent signing of backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and much more tonight during the 34th annual Akron Browns Backers banquet at Tangier restaurant. Watch the videos below for Turner's entire chat with reporters at the banquet.
To read more or comment...
Former Browns linebacker David McMillan was shot and killed this past weekend in Georgia, according to reports.
The Browns drafted McMillan, a former defensive end at the University of Kansas, in the fifth round in 2005. He spent three seasons with the Browns, serving as a backup outside linebacker and special teamer.
The Beacon Journal has left messages with the DeKalb County Police Department and the DeKalb County medical examiner's office, but they were not immediately returned.To read more or comment...
As the Browns transition from a 4-3 defense to new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4, multi-front scheme, Craig Robertson is receiving the biggest break of his young NFL career.
The 6-foot-1, 229-pound Robertson, a second-year pro who went undrafted out of the University of North Texas, has been working at inside linebacker with the first-team defense this offseason.
Robertson discussed his opportunity and more with reporters during the 14th annual Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament today at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River. Below are some highlights from the interview.
What do you like about Horton’s defense?: “It lets you be a player. You’re not constricted to doing certain things. You just go make a play. Go find the football. Make the tackle. We’ll live for another play. Then we’ll make something happen on defense.”
What are some things you’ll get to do in this defense that you didn’t get to do last year?: “Probably play with more confidence. Now I have three or four times as much confidence as I had last year just from actually knowing the defense and trying to actually learn the ins and outs of the defense, not just knowing what I’m doing but knowing what everybody is doing.”
Is this the opportunity you’ve been working toward?: “Whether I’m No. 1 or No. 10, I would have the same attitude. Every year, it would be the same thing for me. I treat it like I’m not supposed to be here, so I always work hard regardless. It doesn’t matter where I’m at. I’m still going to be the same person.”
Now that you’ve been working with the first-team defense, are you determined to hang onto this opportunity and start?: “I’m just determined for one to start winning. That’s all I’m worrying about. I’m not worried about starting or [being] second or third. We haven’t even put on pads, let alone put in a game plan yet. So we’re still trying to learn the defense, and I’m just still trying to enjoy it and have fun with it.”
Are you surprised a big break in your career presented itself with a new regime coming in?: “I’m not surprised. God does everything for a reason. All you can do is have fun with it. You can’t really stress about it. You can’t [be] too high or be too low. Just stay even-keeled and have fun with it.”
What can you say about another young inside linebacker, James-Michael Johnson, and his ability to push you?: “It’s not just James-Michael Johnson. It’s L.J. [Fort]. It’s Tank [Carder]. It’s Adrian Moten. It’s every guy in that room. It’s not just one guy. So we’re all going to push each other, and we’ve been doing since day one.”
What do you think of rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft?: “He’s made some plays. He’s quick. He has long arms. He’s able to drop back in coverage. People were kind of wanting to see that, and we saw it in the first couple of OTAs.”
Johnson Bademosi made his mark as a rookie this past season playing special teams for the Browns, and he also showed promise in limited action as a cornerback.
But Bademosi, who went undrafted out of Stanford University, is now undergoing a position change with a new coaching staff in place. After spending most of his life playing cornerback, Bademosi has been working exclusively at free safety as of late. Tashaun Gipson is atop the depth chart at free safety, though Bademosi is hoping to push him.
Bademosi discussed his new role and more with reporters during the 14th annual Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament today at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River. Below are some highlights from the interview.
What are your thoughts on moving from cornerback to free safety?: “It was an idea some of our coaches had. I’m kind of up for anything. Anyway I can help the team I’m willing to. I’ve heard the more you can do in this league, the longer you’ll play in this league. Whether it’s long snapper, corner, safety, Wildcat quarterback, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to learn.”
You’re built like a safety -- 6-foot and 200 pounds: “People have said that. The way the league is now there are a variety of sizes at positions. You’ve got big corners and small corners, big safeties and small safeties. It just kind of depends on what you prefer.”
What experience do you have at safety?: “Not too much. I’ve been a corner for pretty much all my life, and I’ve done a good job at corner. So now it’s just a means of learning safety. It’s a new thought process, new checks, new responsibilities.”
How tough is that transition?: “It’s different. I’d say physically, it’s not as demanding as corner. But it’s demanding in a couple different ways as far pre-snap reads and responsibilities to make certain checks and calls. At your job, sometime they put you in a new position and you have to learn how to operate in that fashion, and that’s what I’m doing now.”
There are some opportunities for starting jobs at safety and corner. What gives you the best opportunity to get on the field?: “It’s hard for me to say. We’ve got a lot of great players on the team at both the corner and safety positions. There’s a lot of competition at both positions.”
Are you confident specials teams can continue to perform well without Josh Cribbs, who recently signed with the Oakland Raiders?: “Cribbs was a really productive player, and he was special. It shows in what he’s done in the past. But like any other year, no year is the same, and the team is different every year. We’re just going to progress and get better as a unit.”
Cribbs and free agent Ray Ventrone took pride in being leaders on special teams. Do you look to do that?: “Bubba (Ventrone) was a leader and Josh was a leader, and I learned a lot from those guys. I’m going to try to take what those guys taught me and hopefully teach that to others and just build on what I did this past season.”
The Browns announced today they signed quarterback Brian Hoyer to a two-year deal and waived undrafted rookie tight end Garrett Hoskins.
“Brian brings experience and a solid reputation to our squad,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “We are looking forward to getting him out on the field.”
The Browns will insert Hoyer, a North Olmsted native and St. Ignatius High School graduate, into the third slot on their depth chart and give him a chance to ascend the ranks. Hoyer's arrival likely foreshadows the departure of fourth-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis.
“Thanks for all the support,” Hoyer wrote today on Twitter. “I'm excited to have the opportunity to come home and play for the Browns. It really is a dream come true!”
The Browns have Brandon Weeden penciled in as their starting quarterback, and Jason Campbell will continue to push him while taking reps with the second-team offense. In the videos posted below, Weeden and Campbell reacted to the addition of Hoyer during the 14th annual Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament today at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River.To read more or comment...
The Browns have agreed to a two-year deal with former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brian Hoyer, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com first reported the deal tonight.
The Cardinals cut Hoyer on Monday. He will now enter the mix of quarterbacks with his hometown team as Brandon Weeden, 29, fights to retain his starting job and veteran Jason Campbell, 31, pushes. Hoyer’s arrival means third-string quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, 25, could be on his way out of Cleveland.
Hoyer, a North Olmsted native and graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, has been in the NFL for four seasons but has only one career start on his resume. In his lone start, Hoyer, 27, completed 19-of-34 passes (55.9 percent) for 225 yards and one touchdown with an interception in the Cardinals’ 27-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17 last season.To read more or comment...
Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton met with reporters today after the third session of organized team activities. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(On if it’s hard to know what he has on defense since everything is just coming together)- “It may not be hard, but it’s fun. It’s exciting. The guys are working very, very hard and that’s the most important thing – that they are applying what they are learning. They are doing a great job. They are being diligent in the workouts, not only on the field but also in the class room.”
(On how long it will take for Barkevious Mingo to get into the flow and take a bunch of snaps)- “I don’t know. We are not putting a timetable on anybody. All we are really doing right now in these OTAs is trying to install the defense and trying to get our guys to understand our system and play hard. We aren’t putting a timetable on anybody. We are just trying to get better.”
(On what he saw from Mingo prior to the draft and what we has seen since he has been here)- “Before, obviously it was all on tape and it was an explosive player. He is a young man that played with his hand in the ground at LSU and now we are asking him to stand up and do different things. He’s got a learning curve and we don’t want to rush him. We don’t want to say this is what we expect day one or day two. We want it to be a growing process. This is not a simple defense. It’s a complicated defense. He’s got a learning curve and we want to make sure that he learns it.”To read more or comment...
The Browns have reached an agreement to re-sign running back Brandon Jackson to a one-year contract, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. NFL Network’s Albert Breer first reported the deal today.
The Browns have a maximum of 90 players on their roster, so they must make a corresponding move once Jackson officially signs.
Jackson, who became a free agent in March, played in just two games this past season. In the Browns’ 2012 season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, he caught two passes for 20 yards. In their season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he rushed eight times for 54 yards (6.8 average).
After signing with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent from the Green Bay Packers in 2011, Jackson suffered torn ligaments in a big toe in the preseason and missed the entire regular season. During the 2010 season, Jackson helped the Packers win a Super Bowl, compiling 190 carries for 703 yards (3.7 average) and three touchdowns to go along with 43 catches for 342 yards and a touchdown.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters today after the third session of organized team activities. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “Thanks for coming. We had a really productive week. I am really pleased with the tempo that the guys have practiced with. Their approach, again, has been outstanding. We got a lot done this week. As far as the OTAs themselves, the structure of it has been that we bring them in, they have a lift session. We get a chance to meet with them for an extended period of time where we will correct the previous tape as well as install for a particular day. Then we have a chance to come out here and practice. The past three days we have done that. We’ve had a chance, situation primarily, where we have been working on our first and second down packages, offensively, defensively and then really getting into some third downs. We got into some shorter third downs the first day of the week. There have been some medium third downs and some longer third downs. We are in process of installing those situations. It’s been a good week for us. It’s been good to get a chance to go out on the field against each other and see guy’s execution. That’s been the focus and really what we are trying to work on and see the execution level after being in phase two, which is basically working on air, for the past three weeks.”
(On why Shawn Lauvao is playing left guard and if that change is permanent)- “We are moving guys around at the guard position. (Jason) Pinkston has been back. Just this week is his first week back so he is not getting the normal amount of reps. We will slowly work him into it. We are working all the guards at all the different spots.”
(On if the guards need to get outside a lot in the run game)- “They need to be able to block inside, pass block and be able to get outside as pullers as well.”To read more or comment...
As expected, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden took the reps with the first-team offense today during the third session of organized team activities and the first one open to the media.
Weeden, though, isn’t taking anything for granted. He’s confident he can retain his starting job, but he knows the new regime signed Jason Campbell to push him.
Weeden said he has spent a “crazy” amount of time studying the new playbook with help from his wife, Melanie. He hopes coach Rob Chudzinski and his staff notice all the hard work and view him as the starter.
“I hope they see not only what I'm doing out here, but the way I'm handling myself and working and spending time studying and doing all of those things,” said Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft. “This means a lot to me. This is my job. I take it seriously. I want to be the guy. I want to build off of last year. I think we're going to be a better football team in a lot of ways, and I want to be a part of it and prove to them that I am that guy to make this team better.”To read more or comment...
Former Browns wide receiver and three-time Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs has signed a one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders, one of Cribbs’ agents, JR Rickert, announced this afternoon via Twitter.
So, as expected, Cribbs has officially moved on after spending the past eight seasons with the Browns. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
"I am blessed to have the opportunity to prove myself yet again!" Cribbs wrote on Twitter. "Fresh start, new team, new chip on my shoulder!!!! Love [you] Cleveland, but now it's ... 2013 Raider Nation."
The Browns signed Cribbs, a former Kent State University quarterback, as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He became a special-teams force as both a return man and a coverage ace.To read more or comment...
Trucking companies with class action lawsuits against Pilot Flying J have hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate the Knoxville, Tenn.-based business operated by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, News Channel 5 reported today.
The Freeh Group made headlines last summer for its findings in the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal.
The FBI and Internal Revenue Service raided the headquarters of Haslam’s family business on April 15 as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged fraud scheme. The FBI accuses Pilot Flying J of cheating trucking companies out of millions of dollars of rebates they were supposed to receive for buying certain amounts of diesel fuel.
Several of those companies have filed civil lawsuits against Pilot Flying J while the FBI and IRS continue their ongoing criminal investigation.To read more or comment...
The Browns signed cornerbacks Akeem Auguste and Abdul Kanneh, punter T.J. Conley, nose tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and linebacker Ausar Walcott, the team announced today.
All of the aforementioned players participated in the Browns’ rookie minicamp this past weekend on a tryout basis.
The Browns also waived cornerback Kevin Barnes, wide receiver Mike Edwards, defensive end Paipai Falemalu, punter Jake Schum and safety Ricky Tunstall. The Browns signed Barnes and Schum in March. Edwards, Falemalu and Tunstall were undrafted free agents who landed with the team April 30.
Here’s information provided by the Browns about the five players who tried out and earned contracts:To read more or comment...
Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi chatted with reporters today after addressing the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton.
To read more or comment...
The Browns signed running back Robbie Rouse as an undrafted free agent from Fresno State University, the team announced today.
Rouse arrived at rookie minicamp this week on a tryout basis but earned a contract. At 5-foot-6 and 190 pounds, Rouse might be the shortest player in team history.
Rouse started 26 of the 50 games in which he appeared at Fresno State, finishing as the program’s all-time rushing leader with 4,647 yards to go along with 37 rushing touchdowns, 110 catches and 794 receiving yards.
Rouse, 22, rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his final three seasons and compiled 21 career 100-yard rushing performances. Rouse, a native of San Diego, is the 19th undrafted rookie free agent the Browns have signed this year.To read more or comment...
Former Utah defensive tackle Dave Kruger joined free safety Jamoris Slaughter and offensive tackle Chris Faulk on the sidelines today during the second practice of Browns rookie minicamp.
Kruger, the younger brother of Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger, stretched and did light exercises off to the side with Slaughter and Faulk. Kruger’s injury is unknown. He signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent.
Slaughter is recovering from a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon he suffered in September, and Faulk is rehabilitating after tearing two ligaments in his right knee in September. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he expects Slaughter, a sixth-round pick from Notre Dame, and Faulk, who signed with the Browns as a undrafted free agent from Louisiana State, to be back in action by training camp, which starts in late July.
The other 45 players attending rookie minicamp participated. Although the Browns will wrap up their rookie minicamp Sunday, the final practice is closed to the media.
New regime watchesTo read more or comment...
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski addressed the media today after the first practice of rookie minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “How’s everybody doing? Thanks for coming out. It’s good to get back with a little football again here. We had the rookies in today. It’s really nice to get a chance to see them, get out with them for the first time and actually see them on the field and see what they can do and have our coaches around to get to know them. We had basically a normal minicamp day. Similar to the ones we had with the veteran minicamp initially there. We had a walk-thru this morning. We threw a lot at these guys. We gave them a chance to learn it and go through it on the field walking then go out and practice this afternoon. We started on the field this afternoon and then ended up inside. A Lake Erie sprinkle hit us a little bit, but we got a lot done. I’m really pleased with today.”
(On if he felt the need to address Armonty Bryant personally)- “I did. It’s a serious matter. Now that Armonty has gotten here, I had the chance to sit down with him and talk about my expectations – make those expectations clear with him. I feel like we have a good support structure here. I think we have good guys in the locker room, some guys who are excellent mentors. You look at D’Qwell Jackson, Davone Bess and those guys, anybody that follows them and follows their example will learn how to be a professional. Ultimately, Armonty needs to show that he is going to be accountable and I expect that out of him.”
(On his early impressions of Bryant)- “Well, I just met him for the first time face-to-face yesterday. I think he is very remorseful for the things that have happened. He understands me and what I expect of him and is ready to make amends.”To read more or comment...
Running back Jamaine Cook, who signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent from Youngstown State, addressed the media this evening after the first practice of rookie minicamp. Cook graduated from Midpark High School in Middleburg Heights, which is around the corner from the Browns' training facility in Berea. Cook said he used to attend Browns training camps as a child.
To read more or comment...
Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant met with coach Rob Chudzinski upon arriving to rookie minicamp, apologized for his recent run-in with the law and vowed to change his lifestyle.
“I apologized multiple times,” Bryant said. “He just told me what he expects and what the Browns expect. So hopefully we can move forward, and I can prove [to] them that I’m not that type of person."
Bryant practiced this afternoon after pleading no contest Tuesday to driving under the influence May 3 in Ada, Okla., less than a week after the Browns drafted him in the seventh round on April 27. He received a one-year deferred sentence and arranged to pay $1,136 in fines and court costs.
Bryant entered the draft with a history of off-the-field trouble. He was arrested in October for selling $20 of marijuana twice to an undercover police officer, but the Browns still chose to take a chance on him.To read more or comment...
Safety Jamoris Slaughter and offensive tackle Chris Faulk were the only players who sat out the first practice of Browns rookie minicamp today.
Slaughter, a sixth-round draft pick from Notre Dame, suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles’ tendon in his left leg Sept. 15 against Michigan State. Faulk, who signed as an undrafted free agent from Louisiana State, tore two ligaments in his right knee during a September practice and missed virtually all of this past season.
Both players were on the Browns’ practice field today stretching and working out on exercise bikes. They were the only rookies who didn’t participate in practice, which was open to the media for a half-hour.
As expected, defensive end Armonty Bryant, a seventh-round pick, practiced today after pleading no contest Tuesday to driving under the influence in Ada, Okla, less than a week after he was drafted.
Coach Rob Chudzinski and some players are scheduled to address the media at 3:45 p.m. today.To read more or comment...
Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and former teammates Chris Gocong and Eric Barton have become ambassadors for Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to ending homophobia in sports.
Athlete Ally announced the additions of Jackson, Gocong and Barton today on its website.
Former Browns and New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, who recently retired from the NFL, is also an ambassador for the group. He recruited Jackson and former Browns linebackers Gocong and Barton.
“I am forever grateful to the game of football for teaching me the value of teamwork and sportsmanship and honored that my former teammates recognize their responsibility as role models in our culture,” Fujita said in the announcement. “With each new Athlete Ally that speaks out, an LGBT athlete may feel more comfortable in his or her sport, and will know that there is support. It is clear by the advocacy of these players that Cleveland is a welcoming environment. That is something I am very proud of.”To read more or comment...
Defensive end Armonty Bryant reported to the Browns’ headquarters today for rookie minicamp despite speculation about the team possibly cutting ties with him in the wake of his most recent run-in with the law.
Bryant was arrested in October for selling $20 of marijuana twice to an undercover police officer, but the Browns took a leap of faith by drafting him in the seventh round April 27. Bryant was then arrested May 3 in Ada, Okla., and pleaded no contest Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. He received a one-year deferred sentence and arranged to pay $1,136 in fines and court costs.
Still, Bryant, who starred at Division II East Central University in Ada, will receive another chance to redeem himself.
Bryant, Louisiana State outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (first-round pick), San Diego State cornerback Leon McFadden (third round) and Chadron State offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey (seventh round) are the recently drafted players set to participate in the team’s rookie minicamp, which runs Friday through Sunday. The Browns also selected Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter (sixth round), but he’s still rehabilitating from a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in September.To read more or comment...
Former Boston College running back Josh Haden will try out with the Browns during their rookie minicamp, which will be held Friday through Sunday at the team's headquarters in Berea.
Josh Haden, 23, is the younger brother of Browns cornerback Joe Haden, 24, who used Instagram to post a photograph of Josh's nameplate on a locker in Berea.
After beginning his career at Boston College, Josh Haden transferred to Toledo but never became eligible to play football for the Rockets because of academic reasons.
Comeback attemptTo read more or comment...
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.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam addressed the Cleveland media tonight for the first time since federal agents raided the Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters of his family business, Pilot Flying J, on April 15 as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged fraud scheme. Haslam spoke during the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s 25th annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on in Westlake before issuing a statement to reporters.
Here is a transcript of Haslam's statement provided by the Browns:
“First of all, it's good to see everyone again. There's nothing I'd rather do tonight than answer a lot of questions. I'd love to answer all your questions. Hopefully, you can understand this is somewhat a fluid situation. Candidly, on a lot of the matters you'd like to ask questions about, I don't know any more than you guys do. I did think it was important, because I've been very out front since April 3 when we appeared, to talk to you all. When I saw everyone here for the draft and the pre-draft party, but candidly, I didn't want to distract from the draft because the draft is all about football and the future of the Browns. I thought it was important for tonight, which is the first time that I've been back for any time period since the draft, to spend time to talk about what has happened since April 15.To read more or comment...
Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence and received a one-year deferred sentence today in Pontotoc County District Court in Ada, Okla., according to the court clerk’s office.
Bryant owes $1,136 in fines and court costs, and he has set up payment arrangements. He also must listen to a victim impact panel and attend a substance abuse evaluation within 180 days.
Bryant and his attorney, Frank Stout, appeared before Special Judge Steven Kessinger this afternoon.
Bryant was arrested at 3:46 a.m. Friday in Ada and charged with DUI. Bryant repeatedly refused to properly blow into a Breathalyzer before the test eventually yielded a result of 0.098, according to the police report. Oklahoma’s legal limit for intoxication is 0.08.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is scheduled to address the local media tonight for the first time since federal agents raided the headquarters of his family business, Pilot Flying J, on April 15 as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged fraud scheme.
Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J, will serve as the featured speaker tonight during the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s 25th annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet in Westlake.
Haslam is scheduled to deliver a speech at 7:15 p.m. today and address reporters afterward. He will not take any questions. He has addressed the media at Pilot Flying J’s headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., several times, but has yet to discuss his status as owner of the Browns.
“He will update statements that he made previously in Knoxville regarding Pilot Flying J, and will also talk about the Browns,” the Browns said in a statement. “Due to the ongoing investigation Mr. Haslam will not be able to take any questions."To read more or comment...
The Denver Broncos have hired former Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, according to reports.
Heckert will become the Broncos’ new director of pro personnel, Albert Breer of NFL Network reported. The Broncos recently declined to renew the contract of Keith Kidd, who held the same title with the organization.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur on Dec. 31, a day after the team ended the 2012 season with a record of 5-11. The new regime hired Mike Lombardi to replace Heckert as its GM and coach Rob Chudzinski to succeed Shurmur, who’s now the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hired by former Browns President Mike Holmgren, Heckert joined the franchise in January 2010 and became popular among the majority of fans because of the three drafts he orchestrated during his tenure in Cleveland. Heckert, who has Youngstown roots, landed cornerback Joe Haden, defensive tackle Phil Taylor, running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first round and running back Montario Hardesty, defensive end/linebacker Jabaal Sheard, wide receivers Greg Little and Josh Gordon and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz with second-round picks.To read more or comment...
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will be the featured speaker and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson be on hand to accept the Dino Lucarelli Good Guy Award at the 34th annual Akron Browns Backers banquet May 20 at the Tangier restaurant.
Also honored will be Dave Robinson, a longtime Akron resident who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013, and Clarence Scott, inducted into the Browns Legends in 2012.
Among the Browns alumni planning to attend are Bob Gain, Dick Ambrose, Frank Stams, Don Cockroft, Ernie Kellerman, Rich Mostardi and former coach Sam Rutigliano. That list could also include more of Scott’s Kardiac Kids teammates.
The Cleveland chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America will honor Jackson and Phil Dawson, who won the 2012 player of the year award. Dawson signed with the San Francisco 49ers in free agency and will be unable to attend.To read more or comment...
Less than a week after the Browns drafted defensive end Armonty Bryant, his history of off-the-field trouble continued to grow.
Bryant was arrested Friday morning in Ada, Okla., and charged with driving under the influence, according to a police report obtained today by the Beacon Journal. He faces a misdemeanor DUI charge and is scheduled to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Pontotoc County District Court.
The Ada News first reported the arrest today.
“We are aware of the incident and are now in the process of collecting more information," Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis said in a statement after the Beacon Journal asked for a comment. "We will not have any further comment.”To read more or comment...
The Browns continued to shake up their player personnel and scouting departments today.
The new regime fired director of college scouting John Spytek and pro scouts A.J. Durso and Tom Headlee, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. All three were still under contract when they were let go.
Spytek spent the past three seasons with the Browns. He was one of the top lieutenants of former General Manager Tom Heckert, who was fired along with coach Pat Shurmur at the end of the 2012 season. Before joining the Browns, Spytek worked with Heckert for five seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ personnel staff.
Durso and Headlee also had been with the Browns since 2010. They both worked with ex-Browns President Mike Holmgren during his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks and eventually followed him to Cleveland.
Director of player personnel Jon Sandusky has not left the Browns, the source confirmed. Sandusky is under contract for another year.To read more or comment...
Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam announced last week that his family’s truck-stop empire would hire an outside investigator to conduct an independent review in the midst of fraud allegations and an ongoing federal probe.
Pilot Flying J’s board of directors announced today that Reid Weingarten will lead and oversee the company’s internal investigation.
Here is a news release from Pilot Flying J about its appointment of Weingarten:
The board of directors of Pilot Flying J today announced the appointment of Reid Weingarten, listed earlier this year by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s 100 most influential lawyers, to serve as a “special independent counsel”.To read more or comment...
Free-agent offensive tackle Winston Justice is not visiting the Browns today after all, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Justice would visit the Browns today.
The 6-foot-6, 317-pound Justice, a right tackle, started all 12 games in which he appeared last season with the Indianapolis Colts. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Justice, 28, in the second round (No. 39 overall) in 2006, and he spent his first six NFL seasons with them.To read more or comment...