OBR Daily News & World Report: 9/4

OBR Daily News & World Report: 9/4

Uh... Hi Peter, how's it going? You remember that we're supposed to put a cover sheet on the Labor Day OBRDN&WRs, right? Did you get that memo? Let me shoot you a copy of that and, uh, if you could do that from now on that would be greeeeeat. Thanks.

While head coach Romeo Crennel says that starting safety Brian Russell will be a game-time decision, a source close to Russell tells The OBR that "it's highly, highly unlikely (Russell) will be able to go" in the season-opener against the Saints.

During his Saturday press conference, Crennel revealed that Russell had undergone surgery on Friday to have an inflamed bursa sac removed from his elbow.  He will attempt to practice at some point this week, but he will be limited due to stitches in the elbow.

Second-year safety Brodney Pool—who likely lost his hotly-contested battle for the starting strong safety spot to fellow second-year veteran Sean Jones—will get the start in Russell's place.

*****

The news on McCutcheon is just as bad as the eight-year veteran is very doubtful for the opener.  McCutcheon is still not fully recovered from knee surgery performed early on in camp.

Sources have told The OBR on multiple occasions that, while he has suffered no major setbacks in his rehab, he is simply not recovering at the anticipated rate.

*****

The Browns put a waiver claim in for defensive tackle Damane Duckett, but the lineman was awarded to the 49ers based on San Francisco's 2005 record.

Duckett started six games in his two seasons with the Giants, but was released over the weekend by the club.

Additionally, linebacker Jeremy Mincey was claimed by Cleveland but was awarded to an unspecified team.

Mincey, who played defensive end at Florida, was a sixth-round draft pick of New England in the 2006 draft.

*****

The Browns made a shrewd move yesterday in picking up offensive tackle Kelly Butler off waivers from the Lions.

The 6-7, 330-pound Butler is not Pro Bowl material by any stretch of the imagination, but he's a substantial upgrade to Kirk Chambers—released to make room for Butler—and provides quality insurance should Ryan Tucker's balky knee act up yet again.

Butler started all 16 games at right tackle for Detroit last season.  The Purdue product entered the off-season as the starter, but started to slide down the depth chart following the free-agent signing of Rex Tucker.

*****

When news first broke that the Browns were releasing center Ross Tucker, I —like many other followers of the club— was more than a little stunned.

The objective, analytical inner-writer in me told me to calm down, that there has to be some type of reasoning behind the Browns releasing someone who had seemingly solidified the chaotic center position.  However, the inner Browns fan in me did not completely concur and told said inner-writer to do something to himself that is both physically and anatomically impossible.

Then, a few hours later, general manager Phil Savage turns around and makes a trade for veteran Pro Bowl center Hank Fraley.

At that very moment, the only thing I could think of was the line from "Dumb & Dumber", after Harry discovers that Lloyd had traded their dog-mobile for a moped.

"Just when I thought you couldn't get any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!"

Congrats, Phil, for getting this team back on the road and headed for Aspen.

*****

Speaking of Fraley, the seven–year veteran is in the final year of a five-year contract that will pay him $650,000 in base salary.  Fraley would become a free-agent at the end of the 2006 season should the Browns decide not to sign him to a contract extension.

And, yes, there is the possibility that the Browns could sign Fraley to an extension and move either him or LeCharles Bentley to guard.

*****

Speaking of Fraley—again—forget reports that the Eagles did not want to deal with the Browns earlier in training camp as a result of Philadelphia's failed free-agent bid to land Bentley.

The Eagles were initially reluctant to deal Fraley due to starter Jamaal Jackson's injured ankle and the unknown surrounding rookie Nick Cole.  However, Jackson's injury has seemingly healed and Cole has made tremendous strides over the past two weeks.

Those two factors, not a sudden change of heart by the Eagles' front office regarding the Browns, led to the trade of Fraley.

*****

In yesterday's edition of the Charlotte Observer, the paper reported that the Browns are rumored to be interested in quarterback Drew Henson.

We've said it before, and we'll say it yet again: the Browns have not in the past, do not currently, and will likely have no future interest in the QB recently released by the Cowboys.

Sources on both sides have told The OBR that there has been no interest on the part of Cleveland.

*****

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I told the players we are going to put it behind us. That is what we are doing. We are moving forward and I am not even going to mention that game anymore, if you guys (in the media) will let me."— head coach Romeo Crennel, on how he's dealing with his team's lethargic loss to the Bears last Thursday.

QUOTE OF THE DAY, THE SEQUEL: "Every down in practice, I try to get better. Whenever the coaches feel like it's time for me to go in (as a starter), I'll be ready to contribute. If they call upon me, I'll have the right mindset."— rookie linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, on Crennel's decision to start the season with Matt Stewart as the starter at LB.

QUOTE OF THE DAY, THE FINALE: "Hank was a big-time safety net for us. That was a real tough one, just because Hank's a good football player and we know if something happened to really anybody inside at either guard or center that he could step in there and play." — Eagles general manager Tom Heckert, on newly-acquired Browns center Hank Fraley.

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