After a false start, apparently Braylon Edwards has agreed to terms with
the Cleveland Browns. Now his fate is out of the hands of his agent and the
Browns front office. It is in the hands of Head Coach Romeo Crennel. On
Wednesday, Romeo said that he would be somewhere below former Toledo wide
receiver Lance Moore on the depth chart.
That is part of the mental aspect of the game of football. With the
first exhibition game coming up on Saturday against the New York Giants, Crennel
has some choices, and his veteran players will be watching. Last year, Butch
Davis gave first pick holdout Kellen Winslow, Jr. a slap on the wrist, demoting
him for the first practice, then moving him up to the first unit for the second
practice. Obviously, Edwards will be the starter for the regular season opener
against Cincinnati, and he will need plenty of work with the first unit, along
with Trent Dilfer, but Dilfer probably won’t see more than one quarter of action
in the first exhibition game.
I wouldn’t be at all
surprised if Crennel waits until the third or final exhibition game before
officially naming Edwards to the starting lineup, after he has given
everyone enough time to see just how good he is, and that he deserves it
based on performance rather than the contract he has just received.
The release of offensive
lineman Marcus Spears was curious. He was originally signed for all the
right reasons, but didn’t even stay on the team until the first exhibition
game. He either was a distraction in the locker room, or the Browns made a
mistake by overestimating his ability. The only other possibility is that
some veterans use training camp just to get in shape for the regular season;
others have to be impressive enough to win a job. Spears must have been
told by the front office, upon signing, that he’d have to win a job, rather
than have it guaranteed. Now he will have plenty of time to latch on to
another team prior the regular season.
I don’t blame the Browns and the rest of the NFL for doing this, but it
continues to amaze me that they are able to charge full price to season ticket
holders for exhibition games. I have been a season ticket holder for years, and
have trouble giving those tickets away. I know the popularity of the NFL, and
the hold that the Browns have on this community, but this question begs to be
answered. If season ticket holders only had to buy the eight regular season
games, and were given the opportunity to purchase exhibition games at full
price, how many would buy them? I once did an un-scientific poll on my
television show and found that 90% would not buy the exhibition games at full
price. An additional 40% said they would buy them at half price.
It’s just an educated guess, but my gut feeling (Butch Davis term) is
that not more than 15-20,000 fans would attend exhibition games at full price.
I’d be interested to know if you agree or disagree with that. And I’d
also like to know if you think one of the two exhibition home games for NFL
teams should be taken back on the road, as was done in the past. The Browns
front office has shown some interest in moving training camp to Columbus, which
would be a PR mistake in northern Ohio. But I don’t think many would object to
having the first exhibition game of the season being played at the Horseshoe, as
opposed to paying full price to see a glorified scrimmage.
‘More Sports & Les Levine’ can be seen M-F from 6-7pm with replays at 11pm on
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