Lebovitz: Browns to Let Gardocki, Stokes Walk

Cleveland newspaper columnist Hal Lebotvitz is reporting this morning that the Browns are not planning on pursuing three of their current free agents. The three are punter Chris Gardocki, and offensive linemen Barry Stokes and Shaun O'Hara.

Well, color me stupid.

I've been busily at work slamming together biographies on all the Browns players, including three that Hal Lebovitz is reporting this morning will likely be allowed to walk: Chris Gardocki, Barry Stokes, and Shaun O'Hara.

Gardocki has been with the Browns since their return in 1999, but is an unrestricted free agent now that his initial five-year contract has expired. Despite the recent spin from Berea that Davis would like to see Gardocki back and that he still has a couple "years left in his leg", Lebovitz says the team will allow Gardocki to walk unless he returns at reduced salary and will depend on newly signed punter Derrick Frost.

Offensive line role players Barry Stokes and Shaun O'Hara will also be allowed to leave, writes Lebovitz. Stokes, in particular, stepped up during the 2003 season, as he filled in for injured left tackle Ross Verba. It is no secret that the Browns are hoping to upgrade at left tackle, and the willingness to lose both Stokes and Verba infers that the team sees players such as Enoch Demar as being ready to step up.

Lebovitz's weekly Sunday column, always a great read, is not available via the Internet. The column appears in the Lake County News-Herald and Lorain Morning-Journal among other newspapers.

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