BEREA: Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett lobbed the first volley against former teammate Karlos Dansby last week.
Dansby, a linebacker who was signed as a free agent by the Browns, fired back on Wednesday.
Dockett asserted that Dansby only wanted someone to show him the money during the offseason. Dansby signed a four-year $24 million deal with the Browns earlier this year after having one of his best seasons as a pro with 122 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
“I personally feel like he chased the money versus chasing a ring,” Dockett said in an ESPN report. “No knock toward Cleveland. I don’t want people to think I’m saying Cleveland don’t have a chance. Everyone has a chance. But I just felt like it was made for him to be here. Again, the financial part is totally different. I don’t know anything about that.”
Dansby replied diplomatically.
“I can’t really react to that,” he said. “That’s his opinion. I’m a visionary. I’m a leader. That’s what a leader is. A leader is a visionary that has a poor development of fear and no concept of the odds that are against him. That’s me, that’s what I am.”
Dansby said that the situation showed something about how Dockett views his current teammates on the Cardinals.
“The way he was saying it, I feel like he don’t believe in the guys in the locker room. That’s how I look at it,” Dansby said. “If I was to leave and you feel like you can’t make noise because I’m gone, you don’t trust the guys that are there. How can you be a leader and you said something like that?
“It’s disappointing, man, and you disappointed everybody in that organization, disappointed all the guys in the locker room. And I’ve got a lot of respect for all them guys in the locker room. I would have never said that about another man.”
Some of what Dockett said might have been little more than bluster, said linebacker Quentin Groves, who played with him in 2012.
“Dockett’s the kind of guy, he’s going to talk. He loves to talk,” Groves said. “It’s nothing against him. Me and Dockett are good friends, but at the same time, if the shoe was ever on the other foot, I would promise you this, it would be interesting to see what he does.”
In the end, Groves might have accurately summarized what the business side of football has done to the game itself.
“That’s what the game is about now. The days of loyalty are long gone. It’s just about ... I hate to say this, but it’s becoming a selfish game,” he said. “But at the same time, you have to do what is best for you and your family. At the end of the day, you are your business, so you can’t blame him for taking the high road.”
Scouting Johnny Manziel
Groves was asked about the name that wags the tongues of most any Browns fan in Northeast Ohio and answered carefully when talking about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose name is probably the most polarizing of any potential draft choice.
Groves believes Manziel’s game can translate to the NFL, primarily because of the success Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, two quarterbacks who have the ability to run, have had in the league in recent years.
“It takes defensive coordinators a year to catch up with what’s new,” he said. “Look at RGIII [Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins], look at Russell Wilson. People still haven’t caught up to Russell Wilson. You look at guys like that, Kaepernick who had that explosive season. They’ve been in the NFC championship the past three years.
“You look at that now, and you look at what the game is about now. It’s about spreading them out, adding other dimensions to the game. So if he can add a dimension that he can run, you give defensive coordinators that much more to prepare for.”
Would Groves want Manziel to come walking through the doors at Berea?
He made the sign of the cross, interpreted by many in the media to mean “yes.”
But he realizes that with Manziel comes a potential circus.
“I think we’re a mature enough team to handle it,” he said. “We’ve had some individual success here and people have handled it well, Josh Gordon and [Alex] Mack going to the Pro Bowl, Joe Thomas going to the Pro Bowl. Joe [Haden] making his first Pro Bowl and Jordan [Cameron] making his first [one]. Things like that, I think we can handle it.”
Ready to compete
Cornerback Buster Skrine sees that the new coaching staff is bringing a new attitude to the Browns, but once again, he’s facing increased scrutiny, having to prove himself again after showing improvement last season.
“Of course I feel I can hang on to it,” Skrine said when asked about his starting job. “I feel good in this defense because I can play corner or I can play nickel, so just being versatile helps me a lot.”
Coach Mike Pettine said that he prefers to not have defensive backs pulling double duty as slot and outside defensive backs, something that appeals to Skrine, who performed in both roles last year.
“I like the way he thinks with one guy concentrating solely on one spot, but if I have to play both spots, I’m down with that, too,” he said.
He’s also realizes the reality of the game, that coaching staffs always seek someone better to fill a position through the draft or free agency.
“If you add a corner, welcome to the team,” Skrine said. “Last year they said they were going to add a corner. [They] picked up two, so it is what it is. We add a corner, I’m happy for them.”
More of the same
Inside linebacker Craig Robertson, who started 14 games last season, could find himself in a predicament similar to Skrine’s. He had 57 tackles and three sacks along with a sack but there is the possibility the Browns will look to shore up that position in the draft.
“Regardless of whatever, you fight,” Robertson said. “No matter who comes in, you’ve got to fight. No matter where you are depth-chart wise on the team, you’ve still got to make the team, so you’ve got to fight. That’s the business.”
No paperwork, please
On Twitter, Browns safety, Donte Whitner changes his surname to “Hitner” and has even thought about legally switching to that name.
But he has given up on that idea.
“I didn’t want to go through changing my credit cards, mortgages and cars,” Whitner said. “They want me to do all of this stuff, so I can’t do all of this paperwork. I considered it until they told me I had to go through so many documents and sign all of these papers and change everything. For one letter change, I’d rather not.”
Keavon Milton has been working with the offensive line during training camp. He played tight end last season as an undrafted rookie.
Milton is listed as 6-foot-4 and 293 pounds. He wore No. 63 Wednesday after wearing No. 83 Tuesday.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.