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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Cleveland Browns draft 2011: Grade B

By Marla Published: April 30, 2011

I'm giving the Browns a grade of B for this year's draft, mainly because of the character risks involved with their top three selections -- Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor, Pitt defensive end Jabaal Sheard and North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little.

Both Taylor and Sheard seemed to straighten up their lives after college arrests.  Taylor's came at a fraternity function that got him kicked out of Penn State in 2008. The police report on Sheard's fight last July when he came to a teammate's defense and ending up going through the glass window of an art gallery with the man with whom he was fighting is filled with distressing aspects of him resisting arrest, but he was elected a team captain. Little was suspended for all of last season after taking improper benefits from agents. He also carries a diva reputation.

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Jake Delhomme's days may be numbered in Cleveland

By Marla Published: April 30, 2011

Colt McCoy is the Browns' starting quarterback and Seneca Wallace signed a three-year, $9 million contract on March 3 to be his backup. The comments made by Browns president Mike Holmgren about the position seem to indicate Jake Delhomme's days in Cleveland may soon be over unless he agrees to a pay cut.

In 2011, Delhomme is set to make $5.4 million, way too high a salary for a third-stringer. Wallace, a nine-year veteran, is well versed in the West Coast offense the Browns are preparing to install.

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Delone Carter napping when Colts called

By Marla Published: April 30, 2011

Sleep had been tough for Syracuse running back Delone Carter the past few nights.

So when the phone call came from the Indianapolis Colts Saturday afternoon, Ohio's 2005 Mr. Football at Copley High School was laying on his bed napping.

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Thoughts after day 2 of Cleveland Browns draft

By Marla Published: April 29, 2011

Thoughts after the first three rounds of the Browns' draft in Berea:

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Should the Cleveland Browns take Da'Quan Bowers?

By Marla Published: April 29, 2011

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, at one point projected as the first overall pick in the draft, remains available because of a serious knee issue.

He had surgery in January to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee that kept him from working out at the combine. Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki said some league executives believe Bowers could need microfracture surgery. 

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Cleveland Browns draft wish list 2011

By Marla Published: April 28, 2011

While I've written since January that I wanted North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn for the Browns at No. 6, it appears they will take a wide receiver (A.J. Green of Georgia or Julio Jones of Alabama) or a cornerback (Patrick Peterson of LSU or Prince Amukamara of Nebraska) with their first selection. President Mike Holmgren seems especially mindful of the draft day gaffes made by previous regimes and will preach making a safe choice, at least on day one.

With their eight selections, here's what (and sometimes whom) I would like the Browns to come out of this draft with:

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Want to be on a calendar with A.J. Hawk?

By Marla Published: April 27, 2011

Former Ohio State star linebacker A.J. Hawk, a member of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, is teaming up with Mighty Dog in a ''Big Guy, Small Dog'' contest.

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Odds on Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's future

By Marla Published: April 27, 2011

Proving that you can bet on anything, has set odds on whether Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel will survive an NCAA investigation into his cover-up of his players' acceptance of illegal benefits.

The website set odds on what will happen to Tressel in 2011. It also shows percentages on the likehood of four options occuring.

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NFL: What a week this could be

By Marla Published: April 26, 2011

Browns players Joshua Cribbs, Ben Watson and Reggie Hodges were unable to work out or speak to the coaching staff when they reported to the headquarters in Berea this morning, just the first bizarre day in what could be the most history-making week in league history.

While the NFL seeks a stay after Judge Susan Nelson's ruling lifted the lockout Monday, league spokesman Greg Aiello told the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora, "We need a few days to sort this out.''

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Thoughts after Tom Heckert's press conference

By Marla Published: April 21, 2011

A few thoughts on the Cleveland Browns draft after general manager Tom Heckert's press conference Thursday:

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John Smoltz tries pro golf

By Marla Published: April 20, 2011

Former major league pitcher John Smoltz will compete for the first time as a professional golfer in next week's Nationwide Tour event, the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta.

The eight-time All-Star, 44, will try to become the first former pro athlete to make the cut in a Nationwide Tour tournament.

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Thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 2011 schedule

By Marla Published: April 19, 2011

Thoughts on the Browns' 2011 schedule, providing there is a 2011 season:

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Gruden: 'I thought Terrelle Pryor was Julius Peppers'

By Marla Published: April 19, 2011

Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, now an analyst for ESPN and a member of the Monday Night Football broadcast crew, is flying to Columbus Wednesday to spend some time at Ohio State's spring football practice.

Asked during a Tuesday conference call if he thought OSU's Terrelle Pryor could play quarterback in the NFL, Gruden said, "I'll have a better feel for that after I sit down and watch them.  But let me say this:  The quarterbacks I'm seeing coming through here in the last few years are getting bigger, stronger, and they're getting abnormally large.  When you look at the size of (Tim) Tebow, the size of Cam Newton, now you're talking about Terrelle Pryor, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett, if you get with the right coach who can cater an offense to Terrelle Pryor's ability....''

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When it comes to Madden cover, apparently Browns fans don't believe in curses

By Marla Published: April 19, 2011

Thanks to the backing of Browns fans, running back Peyton Hillis continues his stunning run of upsets in voting to be on the cover of EA Sports' Madden NFL 12.

Hillis has reached the finals, facing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. That matchup creates a whole different dynamic in the voting, with a possible backlash from animal lovers still seething over Vick's running of an illegal dog-fighting ring that sent him to prison.

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Should Grady Sizemore lead off for the Cleveland Indians?

By Marla Published: April 18, 2011

Before Sunday's game, I wasn't thrilled with Indians manager Manny Acta's decision to put Grady Sizemore in the leadoff spot in his first game back from microfracture knee surgery.

My initial reaction was that Sizemore belonged fifth, sixth or ninth, presuming he would need time to regain his timing at the plate.

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Eagles reportedly want ex-Cleveland Brown Jerome Harrison back

By Marla Published: April 15, 2011

An interesting post on about the Philadelphia Eagles' running back corps touts the performance of former Cleveland Brown Jerome Harrison.

The post goes so far to call it a steal that the Eagles swapped Harrison last Oct. 14 for Mike Bell. Harrison backed up LeSean McCoy and finished with 239 yards on 40 carries (4.1) average and a TD for the Eagles, along with eight receptions for 43 yards. For 2010, Harrison totalled 330 yards (4.6 average), nowhere near his 862 yards (4.4 average) for the Browns in 2009.

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McShay sees Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor playing receiver in the NFL

By Marla Published: April 14, 2011

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. doesn't believe Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor will play that position in the NFL.

On a conference call Thursday, McShay said Pryor is better suited for receiver in the pros. Pryor will miss the first five games of his senior season due to NCAA suspension.

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Fans give Cleveland Cavaliers a huge sendoff

By Marla Published: April 13, 2011

Not many 19-win teams get a standing ovation when the season ends, but that's what happened Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

Part of that may have been for radio announcer Joe Tait, who was calling his final game. During the final minute, "My Way'' played over the stadium speakers as the Cavs dribbled out the clock. It was a touching tribute for a man who felt uncomfortable with all the hoopla over his retirement.

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Joe Haden tweets Cam Newton visited Cleveland Browns

By Marla Published: April 13, 2011

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has visited Cleveland Browns headquarters, according to Browns cornerback Joe Haden.

On Twitter, Haden said Wednesday, "Just got off the phone with my boy #camnewton he was telling me he was in cleveland meeting with the coaches!''

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Cleveland Indians getting Cleveland Browns Twitter love

By Marla Published: April 12, 2011

With the Cleveland Indians winning their eighth consecutive game Monday at in Anaheim to improve to 8-2, members of the locked-out Cleveland Browns are showing their support on Twitter.

Among those who have commented recently are quarterback Colt McCoy and receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs.

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Cleveland Indians deserve a warm welcome

By Marla Published: April 11, 2011

No matter the outcome of their three-game series in Anaheim that begins tonight, the Cleveland Indians deserve better when they return to Progressive Field on Friday.

After Opening Day, attendance was at record lows. Even with the cold weather, that has to stump Tribe officials, especially with bleacher seats going for $10 all season.

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Feeling let down over Charl Schwartzel's Masters victory

By Marla Published: April 10, 2011

My cell phone rang at 3:59 p.m., another sports-crazy friend calling over what was going on at the 75th Masters.

I said something to the effect of, "I have a feeling we're going to get Oosthuizened.''

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Feeling pessimistic about the NFL season, optimistic about baseball

By Marla Published: April 8, 2011

Perhaps I was being naive when I expected Wednesday's hearing in federal court to break the stalemate between the NFL owners and players and at least get them talking again. Or as Sports Illustrated's Don Banks suggested, I was merely uninformed. Sorry if I'm not glued to my laptop reading every detail of the legal maneuverings that might rob fans of all or part of the 2011 season.

But now District Judge Susan Richard Nelson said she will take two weeks to decide whether to grant the players' injunction request to lift the lockout. The outcome will likely be appealed to the  Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis. That means weeks and months of legal wrangling with no talks in sight.

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Will the Cleveland Cavaliers still seek another first-round pick?

By Marla Published: April 7, 2011

Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant had to be relieved by Wednesday's announcement that Duke point guard Kyrie Irving intends to hire an agent and enter this year's NBA draft. But the underclassmen-going-pro news isn't as good on some other fronts.

North Carolina's duo of sophomore forward John Henson and junior center Tyler Zeller are returning to school. Ohio State freshman center Jared Sullinger is risking a top five selection in 2011 by returning for another year in  Columbus. Some who have declared are not hiring agents to preserve their eligibility.

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Tiger Woods says we haven't seen the best of him yet

By Marla Published: April 6, 2011

Tiger Woods didn't win a tournament in 2010 and he's still in the midst of swing changes with his third instructor Sean  Foley, but he spoke confidently during  a Tuesday pre-Masters interview.

Asked if we've seen the best of Tiger Woods, he answered simply, "No.''

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NCAA Tournament fans want it both ways

By Marla Published: April 5, 2011

There's a touch of hippocracy in fans' moaning about the worst NCAA championship game in history following Connecticut's 53-41 triumph over Butler Monday night.

Part of what makes March Madness so appealing is the upsets. This year's tournament was thrilling to the end, with no No. 1 or No. 2 seeds in the Final Four for the first time since the seeding process began.

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T-shirt targets Ohio State coach Jim Tressel

By Marla Published: April 4, 2011

Entrepreneurs wasted no time making fun of Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's admitted cover-up in the Tattoogate scandal that resulted in a five-game suspension next season for the coach and five of his players. The NCAA could issue further sanctions for Tressel's role.

Smack Apparel has created a T-shirt that reads, 'Tressel's Tattoo and Pawn.'' According to a company release, Tressel is wearing his trademark vest, but sports tatoos and a heavy gold chain.

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Remembering Martin Luther King and other thoughts of the week

By Marla Published: April 4, 2011

While it may not be etched in the memories of other Americans like the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I can still remember where I was when I heard that Martin Luther King Jr. had been gunned down 43 years ago today on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

I was a seventh grader at Seneca High School in Louisville, Ky. and was distraught that I wasn't able to go to school after fainting in the bathroom on the morning of my birthday. I can't remember what kind of sickness I had, but I was laying in the darkness of my parents' bedroom listening to the radio when the report of King's death came in. While I may not have appreciated King's place in the world at that time, I had a hint of his significance or I wouldn't have been so dismayed to hear the news.

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Cleveland Indians' press box memorializes Bob Feller

By Marla Published: April 1, 2011

The third row seat in the Indians press box normally occupied by Bob Feller has been turned into a shrine to the Hall of Fame pitcher.

His spot bears a plaque on the wall reading "Bob Feller Memorial Press Box Seat.'' Encased in plexiglass is a Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame patch, the No. 19 patch worn on the Tribe uniforms this season, a miniature of Feller in full windup, a picture of Feller in the seat, a program from Thursday's memorial service and a cast of his hand gripping a baseball.

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