I believe John Wayne said it best when he was
quoted as saying “this is getting to be
re-goddamn-diculous”. While The Duke wasn’t
speaking specifically to the current state of the
Browns’ center position, it is more than fitting.
With Bob Hallen inexplicably and unexpectedly
leaving camp yesterday, the Browns have now lost two
starting centers over the course of the fourteen-day-old
training camp. And that has the club in crisis
(about Hallen leaving camp) surprises me," Crennel told
reporters. "You're talking about a starting center in
the NFL one day and the next day you've got two issues
you're dealing with.”
has some things he's dealing with on two fronts, which
means I have to deal with them. They're both pretty
serious. Backs are always serious and personal issues
are serious. The medical issue might have something to
do with the personal issue.”
Hallen suffered back spasms during Monday’s morning
practice and, after getting medical attention from the
Browns’ team doctors, suddenly went AWOL. He
reportedly flew back to
to be checked out by the same doctors who treated his back problems while Hallen
was with the Chargers.
Two messages left by The OBR for Hallen’s agent,
Cliff Brady, have yet to be returned.
So, where do the Browns go from here?
For the short-term, they stick with Alonzo Ephraim,
who has started five games—all at guard—during his three
years in the NFL and has been a Cleveland Brown for a
mere 11 days. Additionally, Ross Tucker,
obtained from New England early yesterday evening in exchange for a
conditional seventh-round draft pick, will be thrown in
Much like Ephraim, Tucker has primarily played guard
throughout his four-year career, although the
product did start at center for four games with the
Bills in 2004.
Now, as for the long-term? Another trade—this time
involving a higher-round pick than was used to obtain
Tucker and/or a player—is most definitely on the table
and in the offing. General manager Phil Savage
hinted as much, telling the
Medina County Gazette’s
and The OBR’s Scott Petrak that “there are always players on other teams (we can get).”
Savage also discounted picking up yet another teamless free agent, saying “there's not much on the street.
We exhausted that possibility.”
With the Browns likely looking to deal for a
starting-caliber center, they may have some competition
for whoever may be available via the trade route.
And that competition may come from within their own
The Steelers have likely lost backup Chukky Okobi
for the remainder of the season due to a herniated disc
in his deck that could be career-threatening. With
rookie sixth-round draft pick Marvin Phillips as
the lone backup to starter Jeff Hartings, the
club could be in the market for a more experienced
For Ken Dorsey, tomorrow could be make or
break time for his tenure in
Cleveland. Make no mistake
about it. The backup QB, with a
less-than-lackluster training camp under his belt thus
far, is walking on razor-thin ice right now.
He knows it. And, more importantly, coach Crennel
knows and hints at it as well.
“(The preseason games are)
tremendously important, and we’ve said that all along,
particularly as far as Ken Dorsey is concerned,"
"We want to get him in the games to see how he performs before we
make a major consideration. … For Anderson, for Dorsey, it’s going to be
important how they play and how they handle the pressure
of the game."
That “major consideration” Crennel speaks of is, of course,
bringing in another veteran QB whose name rhymes with “Testaverde”.
While cornerback Gary Baxter will likely not play in tomorrow’s preseason
opener against the Eagles, there is some good news on his injury front.
The OBR has been told that, if this were a regular season game, Baxter would be on the
field and in the starting lineup. As stands now, though, the CB will more
than likely be held out as a precaution to prevent further damage to his knee.
The veteran defensive back, who missed most of last season with a torn pectoral
muscle, tweaked the knee earlier this week and has not practiced since.
Much like Baxter, linebacker Chaun Thompson will likely not be on the
field tomorrow night. Unlike Baxter, however, the missed playing time will
be critical for the four-year veteran.
Thompson is involved in a heated battle with rookie D’Qwell Jackson for
the starting inside LB position next to Andra Davis, with all signs pointing
toward Jackson having an edge even before the injury.
Quarterback Charlie Frye finally admitted to
banging the thumb on his throwing hand on a helmet last
Wednesday, but declared the injured digit “good to go”
and that he feels “100%” healthy.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’d play, but I have an arthritic
coach Romeo Crennel, keeping his sense of humor in the face of losing yet another starting center.