In the four pre-draft eras, I haven’t felt as good about our football team as
I do about our team right now. We’ve had so many positive things happen in the
past couple of months. The springboard effect from winning that Cincinnati game
has continued to flow and roll over the last couple months. We’ve had a very
productive off-season from the standpoint of the addition of free agents –
bringing in Jeff Garcia, Ebenezer Ekuban and Kelvin Garmon. We added one
additional person today. We just agreed to contract terms to Warrick Holdman – a
linebacker formerly of the Chicago Bears. We’re very excited about his addition
to this team. From a free agent standpoint, there have been some positive things
that have happened to this football team.
The health of this football team is dramatically different than it was three or
four months ago. With Ross Verba, Courtney Brown, Steve Heiden, Keith Heinrich
and Phil Dawson – every single one of the guys who were injured with the
exception of two (TEs Chad Mustard and Keith Heinrich) are currently on track to
be 100 percent healthy and ready to take part in two weeks from today’s
mini-camp. That part of it is very exciting.
We also feel the off-season program has gone extraordinarily well. We’re getting
great participation from all the guys. They’re here working out. We’re averaging
somewhere between 45 and 50 players four days a week. That is encouraging
because I’m a huge big believer as the head football coach that a lot of the
success you enjoy during the season is from the foundation laid in the
off-season from the terminology and understanding what’s going on to the changes
we’re making offensively to a better understanding of some of the defensive
concepts we installed last year.
Some of the other things that are very important have been the fact that our
coaching staff -this has really been an excellent mesh. Watching the new guys –
the additions we’ve added - going about working players out. Not only the
players currently on our team, but the players I’ve been able to see in draft
preparations and watching how they interview guys and the charisma they have.
The guys on our football team are going to really benefit from the additions to
our coaching staff. That certainly is an extraordinarily positive thing.
I don’t know how many of you are big NFL Europe fans, but through the first two
weeks, the Cleveland Browns have 11 players there and those guys have played
extremely well. There have been some extremely positive reports. We’ve had some
guys that have been players of the week. That’s fascinating because in previous
years, maybe the level of the players we’ve put over there weren’t of the same
level, but Mason Unck and Corey Jackson and some of these guys, they've gone
over there any they've really caught the eye, not only of the NFL Europe
coaches, but they've certainly caught our own coaches eyes. They may have needed
some exposure, some experience, and some playing time, they're getting that
opportunity, and I think from that standpoint it's very positive.
The draft... this is a culmination - I'd like to say it's three months, but
it really isn't three months - because our scouts, some of these guys who are
going to get drafted next weekend are guys our scouts have been watching for two
years probably. They've been on the radar screen in some form or fashion and,
so, it's really the culmination of thousands of man-hours of work from our
college scouts, director of college scouting, our pro personnel people... the
last couple of years, one of the things we've been able to do is to utilize some
of those guys when free agency starts to wind down... to be able to use Steve
Sabo and Jeremy Green and some of those guys to be able to go out to some of the
workouts. So, between them and our fifteen coaches, we've scanned the country as
best as possible.
Today, sometime this afternoon and maybe tomorrow morning, we will actually
finish our draft readings... going through all the readings, we're currently at
the offensive guards and offensive centers. We've completed all the other
positions. Monday, we'll start stacking the board, and we'll start massaging
that and taking a look at that. Our scouts will return, probably next Wednesday,
and we'll do some final evaluations of how we've got the board stacked as far as
who is the best fit for the Cleveland Browns, and start trying to make all of
our preparations for the draft for the following weekend. So, having said all
that, I appreciate your being here and thank you...
Q: With all the injuries you mentioned, two guys aren't going to be
ready for May's camp, who's that?
A: Chad Mustard, right now, it doesn't look like... they think
he'll be ready by the end of quarterback school, so he's not that far off. Keith
Heinrich is just running in straight lines, it will be touch-and-go whether
he'll be ready for the mini-camp or not. We're just hedging our bets.
Q: Chad... what's wrong with Chad?
A: Chad had shoulder surgery at the conclusion of the season, it was
determined - actually, we had toyed with the idea of maybe sending him to NFL
Europe for additional playing, and learning to play tight end and stuff, and
then he had some kind of a tear - I think it was a labral tear to be honest with
you. They fixed that, so he should be back. Keith Heinrich had a little bit of a
scope on his knee.
Q: Can you give your instant role for Holdman. And the second part,
does that eliminate linebacker as a position in the draft?
A: You know, Tony, it doesn't. We got involved with Warrick when be
became available as a free agent, and we brought him in for a visit. Our coaches
visited with him, I visited with him... he's kind of been one of those guys
that's been dangling out there. He had some very, very productive years early in
his Chicago Bear career, and subsequently he had a pretty significant knee
injury, and he's been battling back from that. Due to a contract - where maybe
(the Bears) didn't feel like the contract that he had, maybe he was deserving
of... he became a cap casualty guy, or an injury protection guy - I don't know
how they would have phrased it or termed it -so he was a free agent.
We were interested, and we wanted to try to bring him in to give him an
opportunity - very much in the same vein as we did with Ebenezer Ekuban - to add
significant veteran player to the team, a guy who has had some success. His role
is certainly somewhat yet to be determined, but we'll put him at the WIL
linebacker position and let him compete.
Every great football team that I've ever been involved with... great
competition brings out the best in players... and it pushes guys internally, it
pushes guys for playing time... Certainly, he's a quality kid, he's a good young
man, and so he's a very welcome addition to the Browns team.
Q: What kind of player is he?
A: I guess, probably... the forte is that he was a run and hit, chase,
fast linebacker. A couple of years ago, I think he actually led - and don't
quote me on this because all these stats went out of my head when we started
studying for the draft, I knew it at one time - I think he actually led or was
tied for the lead in sacks by linebackers in one particular year, like two-three
years ago. I mean, he had a really extraordinary year. I think the year they
went 13-3 or whatever, I think he had a very productive year and really
developed a little bit of a reputation as a blitzer, but his real forte is that
he's a very good cover linebacker, he's fast and athletic. He comes out of Texas
A&M and they have had a significant history of producing very talented
linebackers over the last 10 or 12 years. He's a guy who fell at the right time
and the right place.
Q: Which linebackers are at WILL and which are at SAM?
A: Currently, as we speak today, he'll be at the WILL linebacker
position with Kevin Bentley and Ben Taylor.
Q: Do you have an update on Dennis Northcutt, and is receiver now an
area of need in this draft?
A: We just re-did the contract with Frisman Jackson, along with Ross
Verba, along with Courtney Brown, along with Gerard Warren, along with (Robert)
Griffith. All of those guys re-did their contracts, so whether or not receiver
is a... with Andre King, Andre Davis, Frisman Jackson, Quincy Morgan... I mean,
I'm not going to say that it's not something we won't consider in the
The Dennis Northcutt thing, right now, it's still kind of somewhat yet to be
determined. There's been conversations back-and-forth. I know that Carmen just
mentioned five minutes ago that he received some calls and we've been talking to
other clubs around the league. I've had four or five conversations this week
with clubs pursuant to Dennis, so we'll see exactly what happens. Right now, I
can't tell you.
Q: (inaudible - the question concerned dealing within the division,
e.g., Northcutt to the Ravens)
A: In the history of this league, there has been an extraordinary
reluctance by teams to deal with teams in their own division, particularly if
you feel it’s a player that has been valuable to you and could be very valuable
to them. The most important thing is that if you make that deal to trade them to
someone to your division, it has to be of commiserate value. You can’t trade
someone who is very productive that would help somebody for compensation that
would be virtually not equal to what they might bring to that particular team.
Then you have to think really, really hard about it. To say it would absolutely
never happen would be wrong. It could happen, but everybody in this league
wouldn’t be telling the truth if they said they wouldn’t prefer to send them
somewhere other than their own division.
Q: Evaluate the talent in this year's draft. Are there a lot of
immediate impact players?
A: I hear people say from year to year sometimes that well, "this
draft is weak" or "this draft is strong". I think each draft has its own
personality. I think that they have things that are extraordinarily - there's a
lot of depth. We've just gone through three years of probably one of the most
amazing runs of defensive linemen that I can ever remember. There's just a lot
of first round, second round defensive linemen for the last three years. Hence
you get to this year, there might not be, but maybe one or two first round
defensive linemen. We went through years where there were virtually no
linebackers - and now you may see three, four, five go in the first round. Every
year has its own personality.
In my personal opinion, I would say that I think "impact players" - guys that
are legitimately going to have a big impact on this league - this may be the
furthest down the first round that I've seen since I've been here. There were
years when you would say "Gosh, boy, if we're picking after six, seven, or
eight, you might not...." But this year, I'm not sure that there won't be guys
going all the way down to the 15th spot. They may not be the player that you
want, but someone's going to get a guy who is about as good as been in the draft
in the last three or four years.
Q: Let's talk about taking some of the current guys out onto the road
on some of these interviews and stuff. It's been reported that you took a couple
of receivers down when you worked out (Ben) Roethlisberger. Is that a new thing?
A: It's new for us. It's the first time we did it, and we did it
because ideally you would like a kid to throw to his own guys he's used to and
more comfortable (with). He's knows their speed and it gives him the best chance
to showcase his own talent. But Monday of this past week, we went out and we
worked out some of the quarterbacks. Each one of those guys, the ones we worked
out, they had a lot of guys to throw to. But, unfortunately, Ben Roethlisberger
at Miami, one of the guys that he really wanted to throw to, his tight end, had
a pulled hamstring. He wasn't going to be available and you can't throw to
underclassmen, so that somewhat limits who they were going to throw to, so we
took Andre King and Frisman Jackson with us, just to ensure the fact that we
would some really good quality receivers, to give him the chance to show what he
can do. He also had a running back at his school that ran all the running back
routes that we wanted to see. But, it was different for us. I think some other
teams have probably done it, so I won't say we were the first to invent it,
because I know that there are other teams that have done it before.
Q: A couple of weeks ago, you remarked you were willing to move up.
Has anything changed... what is the status of your efforts to move up or move
A: Tony, for the last two weeks, we have probably contacted every team
that is picking before us. We’ve had conversations, some more serious than
others, some just trying to test the waters to find out.... Some of these deals
it would be impossible to pull off to go to a certain place if you waited until
you’re on the clock, because they can be too complicated. You have to find out
If it’s just straight picks for picks, you could do it in five minutes,
potentially. But if it’s picks and players or picks and positions or picks for
next year’s draft compensation, and stuff like that, you want to find out the
parameters so you can start working with them today. We’ve done that for the
last two weeks and we’ll continue to do that.
Once we finish stacking the board on Monday and stuff, the whole remainder of
next week, that's what we'll do: we’ll work the phones and talk to owners and
head coaches. I’ve had probably five or six guys call this week to ask if we’re
interested in moving up or down. It’s probably almost 50/50 the number of calls
we’ve had of people trying to get to No. 7 as we’ve had our calls finding out
about moving up. I wouldn’t discount anything today.
What everybody has to understand is that moving in the draft, as attractive
as it may be to go up in some situations, you have to weigh it a to whether it’s
realistic compensation because.... when someone throws out astronomical numbers,
you couldn't do that to your football team, but if its realistic, we’re going to
exhaust every opportunity to find out what it takes to go up or down.
Q: There are three guys who are probably around the top of everybody's
Top Ten... Gallery, Taylor, and Winslow. Are you confident if you stay at seven
that one of those is going to be available?
A: You know... you guys are doing the same thing I'm doing. I've read
nearly every imaginable mock draft that's been written. I've seen them from all
the magazines and the newspapers, and you try to put in... that's one of the
things we do a great deal.
We have monitored all the additions and losses for every club. Some teams
have lost as many as 13 players and added one. You look at their roster and what
they’ve lost and you try to play the mind games. ‘If they’ve lost all of this,
what’s the priority? What do they need to field a really good team next year?’
That might lead you to believe this is going to be their No. 1 priority in the
draft. So, you go around what their losses in free agency have been and... it's
We did a mock draft last year, which we’ll do again this year on Wednesday.
We went through the first two rounds and surprisingly, I’d say about 75 percent
we hit what we thought they were going to take. We may not have hit the kid they
took. They may have thrown us a curve ball in that we thought it would be a
defensive tackle, and it was a defensive tackle and it was this guy over that,
which was a surprise to us but we kind of nailed it down. We’ll do that again
next week and that’s when you’ll start to speculate who will be available for
you if you stay where you are.
Q: Is this the most you've been on the phone?
A: Every year, in previous years, you call people you have
relationships with, you call people that you know... the longer you're in the
league, the more relationships that you build. Some of the best information that
you get, sometimes, comes from the agents. The agent is the guy the other clubs
are calling and saying "If we take your guy at this place, how willing are you
to doing a contract, so..." Some of the people in our organization who deal with
agents are calling those guys and talking to them. "What is your client
hearing?"... "What are you thinking...?" Were they taking trips to every team in
You're afforded twenty opportunities to bring guys in. We brought in our last
guy yesterday (Thursday). You debrief those guys.. "Where have you been? How
much time did you spend?". Did they talk to the head coach or did you just meet
with somebody in personnel? That means they thinking about drafting you first
day, or are they thinking about drafting... so it's just a whole de-briefing,
you're trying to get as much information as possible.
Q: Do you see yourself as being in an unusual position of strength,
because you have a quarterback that has played as trade bait, you have a
receiver that people want, you have three very talented running backs who can
A: Certainly, the status of Tim Couch and Dennis Northcutt play a
potential role in this draft. You can’t discount that that won’t be potential
factor. You can’t say it’s going to be the ultimate factor, but they have value
and they’re both proven players in this league. There are teams in this league
that have no interest whatsoever in either of those guys because they already
have their guy. Other teams might covet those guys. Any conversations we’ve had,
to some extent, certainly their names have come up.
Q: If someone said to you now that you could have either Gallery,
Winslow or Taylor... if they could tell you that now, would you say "Thank you,
that's all I need to know?"
A: Well, I wouldn't say I would be disappointed... to steal a line
from Phil Mickelson from other the weekend...
Q: Randy Lerner was emphasizing the need to win this year. Seemed to
be pretty clear that he wants to win right now.... get a quarterback in the
first round who is not going to play in the next two or three years?
A: You know Steve, I'm not sure... If you looked at every draft
over the last four, five, six years. Look at the large number of first-round
guys last year that didn’t play at all. There were several guys who were
inactive all sixteen weeks. Does that mean that player was a bust or does it
mean they’re just grooming that guy for later? Sometimes that’s the nature of
the type of kid you take. Sometimes with first round players, it takes a while
for the growth and maturation. Ultimately, that’s what you have to do is take
the best player for your team. If you wanted someone who is going to be an
immediate impact for this year, you’d probably take that first round pick and
trade it to someone else for someone who has been starting for four years. That
would be the way to get immediate impact, because everything is somewhat of a
crapshoot. There's as many as 50% of the guys who are going to struggle next
Q: Winslow and Taylor can play right away... probably same thing for
Gallery... Whoever drafts Gallery will play him right away.
A: You think? We'll hire you!
Q: Are there any on-going talks involving Orlando Pace?
A: Certainly because he's under contract, I'm not at liberty to say,
but it's pretty documented that we have had conversations. Whether they’ll be
more in the next eight days, it’s possible, but right now, it’d be difficult to
say anything more than that.
Q: Anything to say about Ron Wolf's position, especially the
perception that he didn't feel used or appreciated?
A: Yeah, that's a good question Patrick. First of all, I have a great
deal of appreciation and respect for Ron Wolf. Clearly, the man has accomplished
a terrific amount in this league. When I brought Ron in 2001 for the first of a
couple times to look at our team, we developed a little bit of a relationship. I
had known him as I said months ago from when he visited the University of Miami,
and the league and all kinds of different things. I regret the way it has
terminated and ended. I’ll take responsibility for some of that. As the dynamics
of the organization changed, there were some things in his mind that were
clearly changing. I’m the first to admit, I have some regrets for things I said.
I’m human. I make mistakes. Sometimes out of frustration, sometimes out of
anger, I’ll say things off the cuff with a flippant remark, and I've done it to
you guys, and hopefully I usually apologize the next day. I had a conversation
with Ron this week and we talked and we both have a very clear understanding of
the direction this organization is going now and of each other and it is what it
Q: Can a guy like that help you at this point?
A: Football is the absolute, ultimate team game. In this building, we
have an excellent team. We have a great group of scouts and coaches. I rely a
great deal on a lot of people. Ron was going to be a part of that, but as in the
game of football, there are substitutions. You take information from a lot of
people. Whether you’re making a draft choice or a game plan, it’s a
collaboration of a lot of people, and a lot of people will have an input in it.
We’ll be able to get the job done.
Q: What's your biggest concern as you head into this draft, whether it's
position or type of player...
A: The biggest need, to paraphrase Steve, is to win. That's the
I look at the draft, and you kind of get like the 10-year-old kid who gets
the Christmas catalog in the mail. You look at all these things and you say
"Gosh, I'd love the toy set, and I like this, and I'd like a drum set and I'd
want all these things..." I'd like all of these things, because all of them
I think, as our football team has moved forward, and , I think we have
dramatically moved forward in the three years, the talent of the football team,
the depth of the football team, the youth of the football team, the strength,
the depth at different positions... instead of just having "one guy" at a
position, we've started to develop some young guys behind him... whether it's
the NFL Europe guys or the guys who are still here... it lets you be a little
bit choosier when you go to the draft, that you could literally say "OK, it's
one or two of these guys" where in the previous years it was "just throw a
dart", everybody can help, now we can be a little bit more selective and say
"Here's two or three things that would maybe really complement this team."
Without trying to divulge, without going on national television and saying
"The Browns need this and this... " We recognize it. We've talked about it with
our own staff. There are three or four things that "this would really make a
huge addition to our football team". Hopefully, we're lucky again next week to
get some of those.
Q: How do you feel about the offensive line from the end of last
season to today?
A: I feel much better about our offensive line, Terry, to begin with,
for a couple reasons. Last year was a struggle because of the extraordinary
number of injuries. At the conclusion of the 2002 season, we were in the
playoffs, we had a runner who in the second half of the season was right on the
threshold of being an 1,000-yard rusher in almost half the games. We were
running the ball well - ran really well against Atlanta.
Then, we lose Ross Verba. Subsequently, we lose Jeff Faine and Chad Beasley –
we lost a lot of guys and they were difficult to replace. We might have survived
to replace one, but to survive to replace four or five of them...). All those
guys are back and healthy. The caveat to all of that, if there's a silver
lining, is that guys like Enoch DeMar and Joaquin Gonzalez – a lot of those guys
got significant playing time. It wasn’t by design. You didn’t set it out that
way, but they got to play and we got to find out if those guys were good.
We added Kelvin Garmon. One of the things we have struggled with is size on
the interior part of the offensive line. We have two guys who have played and
started and been on Super Bowl teams at tackle. We feel like we have a very good
offensive center in Jeff Faine. Adding Kelvin Garmon added a very athletic yet
a... I haven't seen him this week but hopefully (knocks on table) 330-335. He
played very well. He played in a run-oriented offense with the San Diego Chargers that allowed LaDainian Tomlinson to have some pretty good rushing
That’s kind of what we were looking for – an athletic mauler inside that
would add girth so when we went against a huge massive defensive tackle, you’d
have more stability. Clearly, we have one position that’s open. Some of all of
those young guys may win that job. We may draft a tackle, which would give us
the versatility and flexibility to maybe do something with Ross Verba. Right
now, I feel better about our line, but would we conceivably look for help in the
offensive line? Certainly, as we would in any place. We're not going to pass up
a good player.
Q: Are there any plans of bringing in Larry Allen?
A: That thought really hasn't crossed our minds. No one has brought it
up to us. I heard a rumor that they were shopping him around to some of the
teams, but right now there's no plans today.
Q: What are your thoughts about Earl Little being traded, or Earl
Little asking for a trade?
A: People say things sometimes when they’re frustrated they wish they
hadn’t said. Earl is a good kid. I understand his frustration. He had a very
good year. He intercepted a lot of passes for us.
I’m probably more familiar with Earl’s talent than anybody in this entire
league. He played for me at the University of Miami. I watched his career go to
the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints. I watched him come here and start
at the bottom of the pack behind Percy Ellsworth and Devin Bush and a host of
other guys and work his way up and he became a starter. He was a free agent last
year and we gave him a contract.
I think he’s happier than sometimes he lets himself be known to be, but like
anybody else, they see this extraordinary money being given to free agents and
everybody goes, ‘how come not me?’ Is it driven by the market, by positions and
stuff? Prior to this year, for the past two years, the market for free agency
has been flat. No one has hit a lot of homeruns. All the sudden this year,
they’ve been giving money away like there was no tomorrow. He felt like he was
maybe missing out on that.
Q: You talk to him recently?
A: Yeah, sure, I spoke to him on the phone. He’s here working out and
to the best of my knowledge, he’s okay.
Q: You talk about Orlando Pace and the decision-making process and all
that, does this come down to "Do we want to give away two first-round picks" or
are there more things that add into that? Because I guess the prevailing thought
is that he might be worth a seven this year and if you make the playoffs you're
drafting in the twenties next year?
A: It's a very good point. But I think the one thing that everybody in
this room has to understand is, as much as everybody here would love to make a
trade, it takes two... and if they don't want to trade him, they don't want to
trade him. I can tell you goes on in 32 different staff rooms around America.
The minute that some General Manager or some President or some owner or some
anybody walks into a room and says "Hey, we've got a great deal for this
guy", the first question somebody asks is "OK, who is playing that position for
us when we lose this guy?". Then, as soon as the coaches look around the room
and they say "We don't have anybody", the deal's off.
You can make it as attractive as you possibly want - sometimes the money
isn't an issue, sometimes compensation isn't an issue - sometimes the issue us
that the other team just doesn't want to trade. You can throw away just about
anything, because when they say "Who's going to play that position for us?" and
they don't have an answer, it really doesn't matter what you offer them...
Q: Back to Wolf. In some respects he seems like he's the type of guy
you would want to rely on, and talk to him a lot and count on, and he said that
you personally hadn't talked to him since February. What was going on there?
A: Well, without going into an enormous amount of detail, we did have
some conversation... he came in, he evaluated our team, he was given some
projects, he took a look at some projects that we asked him to look at in free
agency. We had actually mailed him some projects where we wanted his help. He
was actually scheduled to be here next Tuesday and Wednesday to come in and
report on those projects for the draft. It's just gone awry, it's unfortunately,
something that's not going to happen.
Q: Butch, do you have the change the perception that, or does it
bother you that the perception that you are just "King" or just "Supreme Ruler
A: I think it's an unfortunate perception, because I will go back and
tell you this, I haven't seen one single decision in this organization in the
three years I have been here that there isn't a lot of people. We sit in there
with 15, 18 guys, from 7:30 in the morning until 7-8 at night getting ready for
the draft, and everybody talks, and everybody puts input, but ultimately at the
end of the day I'm the Head Football Coach and it's my responsibility. Randy
Lerner wants me to be responsible for the football team and the football part of
the Cleveland Browns and for me to move the organization forward. But it is
still a team effort, and he's part of that team, the contract negotiators are
part of that team, the scouts, the pro personnel, the position coaches, the
coordinators. It's a collaborative effort.
I can't tell you how vital that is, and it's been that way... I'm getting
ready to start my tenth year of head football coaching and every place and every
second I've been a head coach I'm always doing a collaboration of ideas from
Q: Has William Green been put on the trading block?
A: We have not, uh-uh.
Q: Winslow, Taylor, this whole Miami group, does it represent your
last recruiting group, or are there others...?
A: Well, they are a part, because Winslow and Taylor were the last
group I made home visits on, and I was not there when they signed. I left a
month or so before, but they're guys, and there are a few that are still there,
I think there are five or six that have stayed because they chose not to come
out. I don't know if it's legal to mention their names, but I was there and
recruited Frank Gore, Antrel Rolle and some of the kids who are still down
there. So, there's probably a small handful of 7-8 kids who are left from my
last recruiting class.
Q: How good is Taylor?
A: I think he's a very unique athlete in the sense that, playing the
position that he plays, very few people have had as big of an impact on ball
games as he has as a safety. He's a superb returner, he's excellent on special
teams, he's truly a policeman in the center field, he's got great range to break
on balls. I remember going and watching, my son went to the same school system,
and so we would go and we would watch some of their playoff games while we were
in the process of recruiting him, and he just inevitably, he would play running
back and he would score a couple of touchdowns as a running back, and he would
return a kick for a touchdown, and he would intercept something for a touchdown.
I think in the State Championship game, they won the state that year, I believe,
if memory serves me right, he scored four or five touchdowns. He's always been
productive, he's got a flair about him.
Miami has had, in my opinion, in the last twenty years, there has been some
really unique and special guys at the safety position. Obviously Ed Reed was one
of those, and I think Bennie Blades when I was there in the 80s, he may have
been one of the most underrated marquee safeties to ever play in college or the
NFL, and I think Sean falls into that same category of type of guy.
Q: Just to clarify, Robert Griffith re-did his contract?
A: I don't know the complete parameters of it, because it just took
place a couple of days ago, and I know that they've worked it out with his agent
where they've done some things and I think all of these guys, whether it's
Gerard Warren, or Ross Verba - and I think we actually did add years to Ross'
contract - on some of these guys. I think that's an enormous vote of their
willingness to make some sacrifices for this team. I know Todd passed out some
stuff - We've got enough.. if you look at the dynamics of this year, right now
as we sit, compared to a year ago... a year ago, we could have all put razor
blades to our wrists... I mean, we were over the cap, we were losing players,
there were all kinds of negative things happening within the organization. This
year, as we talked about earlier, almost everything has been positive. We've got
cap sanity, we've got the ability to sign a Warrick Holdman... eight days from
the draft to go out and sign a guy that's a legitimate contributor and not be
cash-strapped and not be cap-strapped and go "Oh, we'll not be able to sign
another free agent for the next five years..." We've tried to position this
football team to really take off these next couple of years. It's young, it's an
exciting football team. I've got to be honest, I'm extremely excited for the
fans, I think the fans are really going to like the direction of this football
Q: Roethlisberger and Josh Harris - the fact that they were in the MAC
- are there any qualms about that?
A: No, I think you have to look at the success that Chad Pennington's
had. We've had a lot of conversations about players and backgrounds and programs
and supporting casts and all those kinds of things, and there may be for
some guys, and it may not apply to either of those guys, but there's sometimes a
certain learning curve. I think one of the best analogies is Steve McNair from
Tennessee. He has been at or near the top of the quarterback profession for this
entire league for the past couple of years, and he came out of Alcorn. But I
think the one great thing is that he didn't have to play at all until his third
year. So, for some guys, I think that you would have said "In year one, is Steve
McNair a bust?", what would everyone have voted? And then, in year two, he's
still not playing: "Is he a bust?". And then, ten years later, he's the MVP of
the league, a couple of times on the thresholds of Super Bowls and Man of the
Year and all those kinds of things.
I think that's one thing that - if I can get one message across to everybody
- is that the gestation period on some players is because of the position that
they play, sometimes from the programs that they come (from), and sometimes
because of the needs of the team and how they fit. Sometimes it just takes a
while, and then all of a sudden everybody's opinion of them dramatically
Q: If Garmon is one starting guard right now, then who's the other?
A: There is a pool of guys who are competing for that. All guys I
mentioned I mentioned, Melvin Fowler, Chad Beasley, Enoch Demar, we've got a
whole bunch of guys.
Q: Butch, you're picking seventh, if a quarterback is the best player
on the board and the best fit, you wouldn't hesitate to take him?
A: Absolutely not. I think that we went out on Monday - not just so
that we could walk in there and say the Cleveland Browns have done their due
diligence. If a quarterback makes the most sense of the Cleveland Browns, and
that's the best guy, and that's a guy we would be kicking ourselves in the
behinds if you passed on that guy that one four Super Bowls. You have to do the
work, and you have to look at it, and you have to realistically evaluate your
options. Thanks very much and I look forward to seeing you next Saturday!
Material provided by the Cleveland Browns contributed to the production of this transcript.