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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Tuesday musings: Browns not interested in T.J., Ravens are

By Marla Published: September 7, 2010

Musings on the weekend's activities, including the Browns' final cuts.

It's somewhat surprising that general manager Tom Heckert said the Browns had no interest in receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh after he was released by Seattle, only to see him snapped up by the Baltimore Ravens.

''I think we are going to be good with the guys we have for right now,'' Heckert said in a Sunday conference call when asked whether the Browns needed a veteran receiver like Houshmandzadeh.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Houshmandzadeh signed a one-year contract with Baltimore worth $855,000. He's still owed $6.15 million by the Seahawks.

It's possible that the Browns were interested in Houshmandzadeh and were rebuffed by his agent. The receiver told USA Today he chose Baltimore for a chance to win a Super Bowl.

"Five or six teams have a legit shot to win a Super Bowl this year and they were one of them. Without me,'' Houshmandzadeh told the newspaper. ''Although I had other options and I was seriously considering those, I just couldn't pass this up.''

Houshmandzadeh may not be a No. 1 receiver, but he would have been in Cleveland, supplanting Mohamed Massaquoi. But the acquisition of Houshmandzadeh would have stunted the development of Brian Robiskie, the Browns' most impressive player in the off-season.

Even with the acquisition of Terrell Owens, Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco lobbied via Twitter for Cincinnati to bring back Houshmandzadeh. Now it appears that the Ravens strengthened their Super Bowl chances with a move that cost them little.


In addressing the season-ending injury to rookie running back Montario Hardesty, Heckert sounded less than enthralled with James Davis, the current No. 3 behind Jerome Harrison and Peyton Hillis.

"I think James Davis played very well in the last game. I think James Davis had a good preseason last year. He was a guy that obviously the Browns liked when they drafted him and he was a guy that we liked in Philadelphia. We think he can be a productive player for us,'' Heckert said.

Despite Davis' skills catching passes out of the backfield, it sounds as if the Browns are still searching for help behind Harrison and Hillis.


When Baltimore released former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith of Ohio State, San Francisco signed quarterback Smith, reuniting him with his go-to receiver, Ted Ginn Jr.

Ginn went to the 49ers in an off-season trade with Miami. Some have speculated Smith could eventually earn the backup job behind Alex Smith. Even if it takes Smith a while to learn the new system, there should be no question who's throwing or trying to catch the Hail Marys in San Francisco.


No offense to Charley Hoffman or Matt Kuchar, but the first two winners of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs are  not going to draw anyone away from the NFL, even during the preseason. If Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson aren't playing well, the playoffs are a dud. (Interesting that Mickelson again choked on a chance to take over as the world's No. 1.)

Trying to fight the NFL for viewers seems a huge waste of time and money.


Denver fans are still lamenting the off-season trade of running back Peyton Hillis to the Browns in the Brady Quinn deal. Two coaches, Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels, did not believe the ultra-physical Hillis was a credible option even in short-yardage situations. With the Broncos beset by a rash of injuries at running back, the Hillis-lovers have come to the forefront again. Hardesty's injury should give Hillis more carries in Cleveland and may show which team's evaluation was right.


It seems hard to believe that the Browns will keep 12 linebackers for long. Was it merely a short-term move to placate coach Eric Mangini by keeping ex-Jets Eric Barton and David Bowens? Granted D'Qwell Jackson (pectoral) will not be available for a few weeks. It seemed surprising Jackson escaped being placed on the PUP list, which would have forced him to sit the first six games, especially since Jackson is a holdover from the Romeo Crennel-Phil Savage era.



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