BEREA: As Browns President Mike Holmgren embarked on his quest to zero in on a quarterback during the pre-draft process, he explored the possibility of trading with the Indianapolis Colts for the first overall pick and the rights to Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
“We talked about Luck,” Holmgren said Saturday in a draft wrap-up news conference. “We talked to Indianapolis. I talked to those guys at the [NFL Scouting] Combine and some at the owners meetings. Crazy things happen in this business.”
How long did Holmgren talk to the Colts about Luck?
“Probably about five minutes,” Holmgren said. “Actually, I had two conversations. I had a conversation with [owner] Mr. [Jim] Irsay and also with their new general manager [Ryan Grigson]. I believe I was in a swimming pool at the owners meetings and I had a drink in my hand on the second one. But yeah, it wasn’t very long.”
The Browns also tried to trade with the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick so they could draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, but the Rams chose the Washington Redskins’ offer.
Holmgren said the Browns did not draft two linebackers, Nevada’s James-Michael Johnson and Texas’ Emmanuel Acho, because they’re bracing for the NFL to punish starting strong side linebacker Scott Fujita for his involvement in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal.
Fujita, who played for the Saints from 2006-09, told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in March that he paid teammates for big plays like interceptions and sacks, but not for intentionally trying to injure opponents.
“Pat and I have talked with Scott, not recently, but I think Scott has been real honest and up front all the way,” Holmgren said. “He’s been dealing with the league. So we’ll find out when we find out.”
Holmgren said he listened to the audio of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams encouraging his players to target specific members of the San Francisco 49ers before a playoff game this past season.
“The whole thing bothered me, not just the tape, but the whole idea bothered me,” Holmgren said. “This is a very rough game at times without specifically getting into that sort of thing. At the league meeting, in one of our sessions, most teams got up and spoke to that. The commissioner wanted [us to do that] and New Orleans was in the room and we went around the room, and we talked about our feelings.
“My comment was in all the years I coached, I don’t believe we ever did that. Now I wasn’t in the defensive room most the time, so I don’t know for sure. But the idea of targeting somebody specifically like that and then having money put into a pot for that reason, that’s wrong. There’s no place for that in this sport. So it bothered me and I hope it never comes up again.”
Undrafted free agents
Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the team plans to sign about 15 undrafted free agents. Some of them began to surface in reports Saturday night.
Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat told the Columbus Dispatch he agreed to sign a free-agent contract with the Browns. According to agent Ralph Cindrich via Twitter, over 20 teams contacted Sweat.
Twitter was also abuzz with the following players reportedly having agreed to sign with the Browns: Pittsburgh cornerback Antwuan Reed and Florida State receiver Bert Reed.
Kent State officials confirmed that defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and center Chris Anzevino agreed to sign free-agent contracts with the Baltimore Ravens.
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