Panning for News
Kalvin Pearson

Posted May 25, 2003

And, now, it gets down to this... the darkest weekend of the football news junkie's year. While most people happily go about their business this Holiday weekend, Browns fans will be heard to mutter things like "It's another @%%&*# six weeks until training camp opens...". Yet, deep within the folds of the local fishwraps, news can be found. It is there, it must just be rooted out, and brought forth.


You are here. Your very presence communicates something important.

We are alike, you and I.

For this is Memorial Day weekend, a weekend where practically no football news of any import happens. We know that, but we are still here.

Yes, most people go about their business, oblivious to the deep despair within the heart of a Browns news junkie. They will discuss the Indians futility and the wonder of the Cavaliers stumbling into the first pick in the draft, but will remain uncomprehending of the void left in the heart of true football fanatic.  They do not know that this sunny weekend is, in fact, the dark winter of NFL news.

Steve McNair tried to fill the vacuum by being amazingly stupid, but the Titans aren't even in our division anymore, so that hardly helps.

We are Browns fans, though. We've had worse. We've had three-years of Modell-inflicted suspended animation. Those of us of a certain age remember the deep quiet moment after Brian Sipe threw an ill-fated pass. We remember how quiet we and our friends got after Jeremiah Castille grabbed Earnest Byner's fumble. This is just the yearly cycle. This ain't nuthin.

We know, for example, that it is a brief six weeks before training camp opens. Once that happens, we are on a roller coaster ride that takes us into 2004. In just a couple of weeks, the Browns have a mini-camp, which they may actually let the press attend, and that may be able to hold us through that time.

This is actually a very busy time for yours truly, as I scramble to do the things that I don't have time for between July and April. There's a lot going on to present a deeper perspective on the Browns history, for example, and it was high time to try to spruce up the Rantatorium forum. Buggy web gizmo code doesn't just write itself, ya know.

Regardless of this unfortunate moment in time, there is still Browns news to be found, and some of it is off of the 'net, thanks to the off-season disinterest of webmasters of local media sites. Here's what I was able to dig up:

  • One somewhat under-appreciated resource continues to be the Canton Repository. Steve Doerschuck and Todd Porter continue to provide solid coverage not only during the year, but also during the off-season. One reason I like the Rep is their coverage of activities at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There are a series of articles in the Rep today about the Hall of Fame, and in particular an article about Bill Willis and Browns-player-turned-bad Chuck Noll. These Browns players from Paul Brown's glory years are legends, and the Canton Rep does Browns fans a great service by talking to them when they're at the Hall of Fame.
  • Kalvin Pearson continues to do meritorious service in NFL Europe, while the other Browns-allocated players are having a tougher time getting traction. With the addition of two new quarterbacks in the draft, Pearson will have to make a strong impression in training camp.
  • Hal Lebovitz, not on the web per usual, mentions that Andra Davis recently got hitched and that Phil Dawson and his wife, Shannon, recently became parents again. Let's hope the sleep-deprived crankiness that Dawson will feel adds another 10 yards to his kick-offs next season.
  • Jeff Schudel, whose column is not on the web, either, discusses the Browns options with Lee Suggs. As we mentioned on these pages several weeks ago, the Physically-Unable-to-Perform list might be an appropriate option for Suggs, since it gives the team flexibility regarding when to bring Suggs back and can keep him off the roster until Davis feels he's ready to go.
  • Writing in the Lake County News-Herald, Schudel also has some very nice analysis about an element of how the Browns are changing that is missed by the media's fascination with quarterbacks. While Kelly Holcomb and Tim Couch duel to become this year's starter, it's clear that Butch Davis is transforming the Browns into a team that can run the ball. The draft selections of Jeff Faine and Suggs provide more evidence of his intent. Suggs, Schudel notes in particular, is remarkably effective in short-yardage and goal-line situations. 
  • I don't subscribe to the Plain Dealer or any local papers other than the News-Herald, so if any local visitors see anything in those fishwraps that didn't make it onto the web, feel free to toss it onto the tipline.

That's pretty much it for today, and tomorrow will be even more of a challenge. Thanks for hanging out with us, and let me know if you hear anything of interest to Browns fans!

- AB

Do you feel that email replies, like wine, get better the longer they have had to age? Are you willing to risk mind-splitting headaches in deciphering responses which quickly go off into inexplicable tangents? Then - help avoid yardwork for another fifteen minutes and keep me off the streets during these football-free days!

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