Although it may seem like it, not all of the news coming out of Berea is negative these days. No, some of it is downright bizarre, in a shaking-your-head, gotta-laugh kind of way.
With that in mind, stop me if you've heard this one before: Phil Savage walks into a bar, and immediately crushes another center to death with the swinging of the door.
(We'll pause to let the laughter slowly die down.)
And the punch line? The suspension stems from a violation of the NFL's drug policy that occurred last year while Ephraim was with another team.
You get it? With another team!
Now that's funny, I don't care who you are.
Ephraim was signed following the season-ending injury to LeCharles Bentley, and was thrust into the starting role after the unexpected retirement of Bentley's replacement, Bob Hallen.
Apparently, at the time of Ephraim's signing, the Browns were unaware of a pending suspension. There is no word yet as to what portion of the drug policy Ephraim violated, and neither the club nor the NFL is permitted to comment in any way on a player's involvement in the drug program.
While Ephraim is expected to miss the first four games of the season, he will still be allowed to practice with the club and play in preseason games until his appeal has been heard.
During that time, the Browns will continue their search to add yet another center to their roster.
Speaking of which, let's take a quick look at the centers that have trotted in and limped/snuck out of Berea since the beginning of training camp:
LeCharles Bentley - suffered a season-ending injury on the first play of 11-on-11 drills during the first day of camp. Let me repeat that: first play of the first day of camp.
Bob Hallen - retired due to "back" issues. Sources say it was actually a "sac" issue.
Rob Smith - suffered a high-ankle sprain, apparently after slipping in a Lake Erie-sized puddle of his own sweat.
Todd Washington - retired shortly after signing with the club, apparently out of fear for his own life.
Alonzo Ephraim - suspended for a drug violation while with another club.
That leaves the Browns with Ross Tucker and… well… Ross Tucker as the only center currently on the roster with any type of NFL experience.
Memo to Tucker: If it were me, I would be dressed head-to-toe in Kevlar and firmly entrenched in a concrete-reinforced bunker until further notice.
Additionally, I would hire a rapper's security detail on a lease-to-own basis. And not Tupac's Vegas crew, either. Go for his New York crew at the very least. At least he survived getting shot with the latter group in charge.
OK, enough with the depressing news. It's time to get on to something more positive, a story that contains a slight ray of sunshine peeking through the storm clouds.
Offensive tackle Nat Dorsey suffered a sprained ankle during practice yesterday and did not return. It's not known the extent of the injury or when he will return to action.
(Hey, if you saw him in action against the Eagles, where it looked like he belonged in a bullring in Spain as opposed to a football field in Philly, you'd have to agree on the whole "ray of sunshine" thing.)
We will continue with the good news-portion of the Daily News and World Report with word that Braylon Edwards continues to seemingly defy both modern medicine and the most optimistic of optimists.
Edwards, coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL, practiced in pads yet again yesterday and seems to be on track to potentially start the regular season on the field and not the PUP list.
"So far, so good," Edwards said. "We're still on target with where we want to be."
Just a couple of months ago, that target was sometime in October. Now, there is debate amongst the Browns as to whether he should be allowed to play in a pre-season game.
"It's been tossed back and forth," Edwards said of playing in the preseason finale.
"I can't say that much. We just don't know if it's worth it. We're battling back and forth, the four of us. You can imagine who the other three are."
What is known is that he is definitely out for this Friday's game against the Lions as the Browns medical staff continues to cautiously monitor his progression.
LeSueur and Strait are, for all intents and purposes, the same player, with the exception of their first and last names being spelled differently. Both were first-day draft picks who have failed to live up to expectations.
The signing comes at an opportune time for both LeSueur and the Browns as the secondary has lost yet another corner to injury.
Antonio Perkins, who has impressed the coaching staff thus far in camp, is suffering from a groin injury and was limited to riding an exercise bike on the practice field sideline.
Perkins is in line to be at least the nickel corner this year due to the numerous injuries that have decimated the cornerback position. The extent of the injury will determine whether or not Perkins will continue to have the inside track for the third corner slot.
Just a thought: You are telling me that Suggs is so snake-bitten and injury-prone that even when he's healthy, he's injured?
Amazing. Only in Cleveland and only with the 2006 edition of the Cleveland Browns.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:"Anybody who's going to play in the regular season, you want to see him play at some point before the regular season. We as an organization decided to work him in slowly. We're going to err on the side of caution."—head coach Romeo Crennel, on the return of wide receiver Braylon Edwards.