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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Mayock says McCoy's arm 'above average'

By Marla Published: February 28, 2011

Browns president Mike Holmgren almost always drafted a quarterback during his days as a coach. But NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock expressed faith in Cleveland's second-year quarterback Colt McCoy at a press conference Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"That kid did a heckuva job last year,'' Mayock said. "I watched some of his tape because I do a show called 'Playbook','  which is all NFL tape-based. "The kid's won at every level. What did I say earlier about quarterbacks? How much do they care about the game? Are they the first one in the building? That's him. He's a gym rat.

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Julio Jones has defender's mentality

By Marla Published: February 27, 2011

Alabama's Julio Jones is considered the second-best receiver in the draft behind Georgia's A.J. Green. When it comes to players they model their games after, Green chose Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson, while Jones had a surprising answer.

"I like to play the game with a passion. Ray Lewis, I like the way he plays,'' Jones said of the Baltimore Ravens linebacker. "(Pittsburgh Steelers receiver) Hines Ward as well. I like the way he blocks and is committed on every play.''

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Heyward had Tommy John surgery

By Marla Published: February 26, 2011

Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward revealed Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine that he underwent elbow surgery Jan. 12 for an injury suffered in the second quarter against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

Heyward said he had "UCL reconstruction,'' aka Tommy John surgery, on the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

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Ex-Zip Victor Green at combine

By Marla Published: February 26, 2011

Former University of Akron safety Victor Green came to the NFL Scouting Combine to interview players for his web site,

Retired after 11 NFL seasons and living in Alpharetta, Ga., Green said he talks to current and former players to promote their community service.

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Sanzenbacher embraces underdog role

By Marla Published: February 25, 2011

Ohio State co-captain Dane Sanzenbacher found it a little hard to grasp that he was standing at a podium in Lucas Oil Stadium Friday being interviewed at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But Sanzenbacher, a product of Toledo Central Catholic. was embracing his underdog status. At 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, he's considered too small by pro standards, even as he caught 55 passes for 948 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He was voted team MVP and most inspirational player by his teammates.

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Devaney praises Shurmur

By Marla Published: February 25, 2011

St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney said it was new Browns coach Pat Shurmur's handling of players that earned him his first chance at a top NFL job.

''You hear stuff about players and coaches getting it. More than anything, Pat gets it,'' Devaney said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "He's got a great way with players, relating to them, understanding, knowing when to push, when to back off. He's got a real good offensive mind, but besides that, just the way he relates with players is fantastic.''

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Hillis was Williams' mentor

By Marla Published: February 24, 2011

Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams caught 152 passes in four years and scored 10 touchdowns. But the question of who would be better catching balls out of the backfield -- Williams or Browns running back Peyton Hillis -- might spark an interesting debate on the Fayetteville, Ark. campus.

Hillis, who caught 61 passes for 477 yards and two TDs last season while also rushing for 1,177 yards and 11 scores, is also an Arkansas product.

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Lombardi: McCoy needs to get stronger

By Marla Published: February 24, 2011

New coach Pat Shurmur said earlier this month that it would be a logical assumption that second-year quarterback Colt McCoy will be the Browns starter in 2011.

But NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi, the former Browns director of player personnel under coach Bill Belichick, said McCoy has some work to do in the weight room to be their long-term answer at the position.

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Reid's tree upstaging Holmgren's?

By Marla Published: February 24, 2011

The Browns are taking on a decided Philadelphia flavor with the hiring of coach Pat Shurmur, who spent 1999-2008 with the Eagles, and the January, 2010 addition of general manager Tom Heckert, who worked for the Eagles for nine seasons.

 Ravens coach John Harbaugh is another Eagles product, working there from 1998-2007, primarily as special teams coordinator. In answering a question at the NFL Scouting Combine about Eagles coach Andy Reid, he took a playful swipe at Browns president Mike Holmgren.

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Suh's performance may help top DLs

By Marla Published: February 24, 2011

With the Browns expected to switch to a 4-3 defense, several players from a strong group of defensive linemen will be under consideration with their pick at  No. 6.

Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the performance of Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh could help class of 2011 defensive line standouts like Da'Quan Bowers and Nick Fairley. The second overall pick from Nebraska, Suh was named the Associated Press defensive rookie of the year in 2010.

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Daboll must be a great salesman

By Marla Published: February 24, 2011

Former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll wasted no time finding a landing spot after coach Eric Mangini was fired on Jan. 3. On Jan. 14, Daboll was hired to the same post with the Miami Dolphins.

That stunned Browns fans and observers since Daboll's offense ranked 29th in the league in 2010 and 32nd in 2009. The Browns were 31st in points scored last year. Daboll was friendly and cooperative with the Browns media, but his play-calling lacked imagination.

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Gilbert's tweet now makes sense

By Marla Published: February 24, 2011

Buckeyes show accountability

By Marla Published: February 22, 2011

It would be easy to say that No. 2 Ohio State defeated Illinois 89-70 Tuesday night at Value City Arena because of senior guard David Lighty, who poured in  17 of his 21 points in the second half and came up with six steals.

But Lighty and the rest of the Buckeyes (26-2, 13-2) showed resilience and accountability after their worst performance of the season, a 76-63 loss at Purdue Sunday.

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Another star gets his way

By Marla Published: February 22, 2011

Carmelo Anthony finally got his wish and was traded to the New York Knicks. Excuse me if I find it hard to get excited about another star orchestrating his way out of town and to his chosen city. His only chosen city.

At least the former Denver Nugget didn't announce the news on a television special.

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Weekend musings: Buford big for Bucks

By Marla Published: February 21, 2011

After Sunday's 76-63 loss at Purdue, it's becoming more obvious that the second-most important player on the Ohio State basketball team is William Buford.

The junior guard was coming off two consecutive 20-point performances against Michigan State (23) and in the loss at Wisconsin (21). His effort against MSU was the fourth time he'd led OSU in scoring this season. He'd also scored in double figures in six consecutive Big Ten games, going into Sunday.

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Browns cornerstones?

By Marla Published: February 18, 2011

Wondering who the Browns consider their cornerstones of the future as they embark on the Pat Shurmur era? The team's season ticket brochure, which arrived in the mail Thursday, gives some indication.

Quarterback Colt McCoy, cornerback Joe Haden and left tackle Joe Thomas are on the folder's cover. Inside tight end Ben Watson, safety T.J. Ward, running back Peyton Hillis and receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs are featured. There's also an action shot of players running out of the tunnel, with Thomas and center Alex Mack leading the way.

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To ESPN 710-LA: Karma's a ....

By Marla Published: February 17, 2011

After being dissed by ESPN's radio affiliate in Los Angeles in a promo that touted Wednesday's game against the Cavs as the Lakers' last practice before the All-Star break, the Cavs rose up for a 104-99 victory.

Actually, both the Cavs and Lakers acted like they'd heard the spot. The Lakers did treat the outing as a practice, while the Cavs played inspired.

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LA station disses Cavs

By Marla Published: February 16, 2011

If getting bashed by Jay Leno wasn't enough, the ESPN radio affiliate in Los Angeles that carries the Lakers broadcasts promoted tonight's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Lakers' last good practice before the All-Star break.

It seemed like a childish, unprofessional spot by ESPN 710-Los Angeles, even if the Cavs did lose to the Lakers by 55 points in the last meeting. The promo sparked an emotional debate on ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland Wednesday morning.

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PGA Tour changes cell phone policy

By Marla Published: February 15, 2011

Spectators attending the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club Aug. 4-7 will no longer have to check their cell phones at the gate.

The PGA Tour announced a policy for mobile devices Tuesday that will allow them to be used in select areas on the golf course. It takes effect at the Honda Classic Feb. 28-March 6 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Scouts Inc. touts Carter

By Marla Published: February 15, 2011

Rodgers also among the backs rated as good values in the middle rounds, along with Louisville's Bilal Powell. Presumably the Browns will be looking for a backup for Peyton Hillis in the draft, especially with the uncertainty of 2011 free agency.

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Browns special teams ranked 3rd in NFL

By Marla Published: February 14, 2011

Even with a down year from Pro Bowl returner Joshua Cribbs, the Browns took third in the annual special teams rankings of Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News.

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18-game season doesn't anger Winslow Sr.

By Marla Published: February 11, 2011

While many retired NFL players have joined their current brethren in speaking out against the 18-game season proposed by league owners, that opinion in not shared by Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow Sr.

Now director of athletics at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Winslow surprised reporters at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards Thursday night at the Renaissance Cleveland hotel when he said he was ''OK'' with the 18-game idea. Winslow, who spent 1979-87 with the San Diego Chargers, said the league has changed since his day, when players needed the preseason to get in shape.

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No surprises in Browns' cuts

By Marla Published: February 10, 2011

The expected housecleaning after the firing of coach Eric Mangini began Wednesday with the termination of six contracts, but included no surprises. In fact, some might wonder what took so long.

None of the six were under 30, including the biggest name, three-time Pro Bowler Shaun Rogers, who turns 32 next month.

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OSU women: Prahalis vows turnaround

By Marla Published: February 8, 2011

Ohio State junior guard Samantha Prahalis recorded her first career triple-double Sunday, but the Buckeyes still fell at home 74-68 to Northwestern.

OSU (13-9, 4-6 in the Big Ten) has now lost three in a row and five of its last eight games. Hosting Purdue Thursday at 6 p.m., the Buckeyes have six games remaining before the conference tournament.

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Score another win for West Coast offense

By Marla Published: February 7, 2011

Green Bay's 31-25 victory over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV Sunday offers Browns fans hope. It proved that a team can win a championshp with the West Coast offense favored by president Mike Holmgren and coach Pat Shurmur.

But can it work without a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback?

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Jay Leno zings Cavs

By Marla Published: February 4, 2011

The moribund Cavaliers have hit Jay Leno.

Part of Leno's monologue Thursday night on NBC's ''The Tonight Show With Jay Leno'' included bits about Cleveland's struggling NBA team.

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Cavs fans denied what they deserved

By Marla Published: February 3, 2011

I've cried over an episode of "Laverne and Shirley.''

I've cried over the heart-warming tales on 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'' and ''American Idol.''

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Arians' words drawn from Browns days

By Marla Published: February 2, 2011

Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spent 2001-03 in Cleveland as Browns offensive coordinator, which only makes him appreciate more the organization the Rooney family has built.

Arians' resume also includes stints at Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Alabama, Temple, the Kansas City Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. On Super Bowl media day Tuesday, Arians gushed over the atmosphere at Steelers headquarters, even though chairman emeritus Dan Rooney, now the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, isn't there as often these days.

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No offensive coordinator for Browns?

By Marla Published: February 1, 2011

It appears the Browns have decided that they have enough offensive minds in the building in Berea and will not hire an offensive coordinator.

The decision by new coach Pat Shurmur to call the plays to start had to make it difficult to find someone willing to take on the role of Shumur's understudy. But even that seems a bit curious, considering how many men would seemingly covet a coordinator-in-waiting position, seeing it as a step towards becoming a coach.

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