Here are some opinions and links to news stories, as seen through the
eyes of a Browns fan who deliberately booked himself on a plane flight during
the 2001 Super Bowl so as to not see the Ravens moment of triumph. Fans
reading this article via Yahoo! will want to head to
http://browns.scout.com to see the
original version in all of its hyperlinked glory.
Ross Verba, victimized by the Browns Scrooge-like spending habits, will be
able to buy himself out of
indentured servitude today by ponying up a mere $465,000 to repay his
roster bonus. This tale of woe and redemption is
atop the newswire on this hot and muggy Cleveland Wednesday.
Verba, who had been struggling week-to-week on his paltry wages, will
attempt to avoid buying a couple suburban houses (PD) by accident over the
next 24 hours in order to ensure that the check doesn't bounce.
Assuming he reaches escape velocity (ABJ, reg required) within the next
day or so, Verba leaves behind him memories of four years of play as a
Cleveland Brown, including his year on the team's offensive line during their
surprising playoff run in 2002.
His career can't turn into a memory fast enough for fans in the
BerniesInsiders.com Forums, where his complaints about being paid like a
average offensive tackle met with about the same level of approval as a
Cletus" reality show.
Not even Verba's status as one of the team's resident party animals could
endear him to Browns fans. Understandably, the fact that the offensive line as
a whole had a tendency to be sieve-like and hazardous to quarterbacks during
his stay here probably contributed to this lack of sympathy from members of
the great unwashed such as myself.
In his defense, however, Verba was not nearly the weakest link in that
unreliable chain. But he did make the mistake of sounding out of touch with
reality when telling the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot that he was among the
league's elite left tackles.
Phil Savage, meanwhile, continued his policy of strictly considering the
approach to player acquisition established by his predecessors - and then
doing the complete opposite (DDN, reg required).
For example, the Browns not only have plugged the obvious leaks in the line
with the signing of guards Cosey Coleman and Joe Andruzzi, but are even going
to the previously unthinkable stage of
adding veteran depth (News-Herald), via the signing of 11-year veteran
Marcus Spears. Somewhere, Butch Davis is in a hot tub, scented with the aroma
of $100 bills floating around him, and smugly snickering to himself about
Savage's foolhardy ways (CB.com).
As we mentioned on last night's radio show, acquiring veteran offensive
line help is the sort of behavior by Savage that we've found irritating when
he was doing it with the Baltimore Ravens, in that it makes sense to us
commoners and non-ex-Miami Hurricane coaches.
"Why couldn't the Browns do that?", we would ask ourselves as the Ravens
acquired another valuable component part. Then we would make ourselves feel
better by going off to the Rant to remind Ravens fans that Tony Siragusa took
cheap after-the-tackle shot at Rich Gannon during the team's Super Bowl
run. So, you know, their 2000 Lombardi Trophy doesn't count.