New Browns WR Terrelle Pryor Willing to be the Next ‘Slash’

San Diego Chargers v Seattle Seahawks

Terrelle Pryor is proud, believing he can play quarterback in the NFL even after being traded once and cut thrice, Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

But the former Ohio State star isn’t too proud to play another position. Even after declaring, “If I can’t play quarterback, I can’t play football” only a month ago.

Despite those words of defiance, we know Pryor can play football. The question is whether it’s quarterback or another position.

When he signed with the Cleveland Browns as a wide receiver, it was a sign the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2008, infamous for the ESPN-televised news conference to announce he hadn’t made his college choice, had humbled himself to do whatever it takes to play in the NFL.

“I’m going to give this slash-player deal a chance,” Pryor told Trib Total Media on Thursday night. “I just want to play football. I’m a playmaker, and I believe if I can touch the ball, I can go to the house, especially if I have space. This should definitely open up some opportunities.”

Upon deciding to make the move to wideout after being cut by the Cincinnati Bengals on June 18, his first call was to Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown. Pryor plans to work out with Brown and Randy Moss, absorbing whatever they can teach him about the position’s nuances.

“The thing that helps me is that I played quarterback, and I know what the quarterback wants,” Pryor said.

“What I’ve got to work on is the specifics, cutting in and out of the breaks. Athletically, I believe I can do anything on the field. When I get on the field, I may not be the best, but I always feel like I am. I bring that mindset. I work my hardest to be the best I can at that position.”

Browns QB Johnny Manziel Speaks: No More ‘Money Sign’

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel broke his silence Wednesday and spoke for the first time since the end of last season, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. A lot has happened since then, including 10 weeks of rehab at the Caron addiction treatment center.

Here are a few quick highlights:

• He said the Johnny Football persona overtook him and he wants to quiet the noise. “The money sign will not be back.”

• He said he doesn’t want to talk about going to rehab and all that it entailed. “I’m trying to close a chapter on my life.”

• He acknowledged, “I was a little bit of a distraction last year and I feel bad about that.”

• He graded his two starts last season as a “disaster.”

• He regretted that his teammates have had to answer endless questions about him.

• He said we’ll know he’s different this year “by my actions.”

• He said, “I haven’t given up on the fact the Browns brought me in here to be a first-round pick.”

• He admitted he’s “not proud of the chapter” of his life that was the tumultuous 2014 season.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus – WR Gordon Still Has a Bright NFL Future

Cleveland Browns v Carolina Panthers

Josh Gordon’s agent says his client is doing well and determined to be re-instated to the NFL after his minimum year-long ban expires in February, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

“With Josh, he’s hanging in there,” Drew Rosenhaus told Northeast Ohio Media Group Saturday at the Joe Haden & Friends softball game at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio.

“He’s biding his time. It’s a difficult process and it’s meant to be difficult obviously. But I’ve got faith in him and he’ll get through this tough time and he still has a very bright future in the NFL in my opinion.”

Rosenhaus said Gordon, a Houston native, is still living in the Cleveland area and spending time with his teammates away from the Browns facility. During his unpaid ban, Gordon is not permitted to work out with the team or attend meetings.

In essence, he’s been kicked out of the league for multiple violations of the substance abuse policy and won’t be permitted at team functions until he gets the green light from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“The players on this team really care about Josh,” Rosenhaus said. “Joe Haden’s been great to him and so have all of his friends on the team. That’s really meant a lot to Josh during this difficult time.”

One reason for Rosenhaus’ optimism is that another one of his clients, former Redskins tight end Fred Davis, was recently re-instated and signed a one-year deal with the Patriots. Davis was suspended indefinitely in February of 2014 for multiple violations of the substance abuse policy and spent all last season out of football. He was reinstated by Goodell on May 7th and signed by New England on May 11th.

“Josh is just as determined to make it back as Fred was,” said Rosenhaus.

Rosenhaus acknowledged that it’s difficult for players suspended indefinitely to be banned from their teams and separated from their support structure. Gordon, who was banned after drinking alcohol on a plane to Las Vegas in January with teammates and former Browns receivers coach Mike McDaniel, plays pickup basketball with his Browns teammates and hangs out at Haden’s house, but misses working out at the Browns facility and being on the field for organized team activities.

“It’s not an easy situation to be in and he’s just taking it one day at a time,” said Rosenhaus.

Browns Trade for Punter Andy Lee

Andy_Lee_49ers_Punters_Six_Year_Contract_Extension_4_Million_Year

The Cleveland Browns traded their 2017 seventh-round draft-pick to the San Francisco 49ers for punter Andy Lee over the weekend.  Lee is a three-time Pro Bowler, but was not in the 49ers’ future plans, as San Francisco drafted punter Bradley Pinion out of Clemson with their fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Lee’s last Pro Bowl appearance was in 2011, and before that he received the honor in 2007 and 2009.

The trade resulted in the Browns cutting ties with punter Spencer Lanning, who spent two seasons in Cleveland.  The Browns have made several moves to alter their special teams this off-season, waiving long-snapper Christian Yount, and cutting kicker Garrett Hartley.

Cleveland’s special teams were not near the top of the league in any regard in the 2014 season.  The Browns were 15th in net average on punts, 28th in field goal percentage,  28th in kick return average, and 28th in punt return average. Cleveland has not had one of the league’s more potent offenses in recent memory, so the field position battle will be crucial for a team that wants to rely on a strong running game and tough defense to win games.

Cleveland is not known as an easy place to kick, due to the unpredictable winds off the lake and the harsh winters of Northeast Ohio, but San Francisco is not known as a kicker-friendly place either, which is one reason why the 49ers went after long-time Browns kicker Phil Dawson in 2013. So the move from San Francisco to Cleveland may not be as hard for Lee to make the adjustments as it would with other punters.

Lee is 32 years old, entering his 12th season in the NFL, and has four years left on a six-year deal that he signed with San Francisco in 2012.  Lee is under contract to make roughly $12 mil. over the next four seasons, making him the fifth highest-paid punter in the league. The Browns will have a competition to see who will be the kicker on the shores of Lake Erie in the 2015 season, but appear to have one special teams spot set for years to come with Lee.

Pettine and Farmer Both Praise McCown for What He Brings to the Browns

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A month ago, Browns head coach Mike Pettine labeled veteran journeyman Josh McCown the favorite to become the Browns’ starting quarterback heading into the upcoming season, but the coach isn’t stopping there, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Now Pettine is essentially labeling McCown the best “bridge” starter the Browns could have possibly found this offseason.

The manner in which Pettine and General Manager Ray Farmer gushed over McCown during a Browns Fan Fest panel discussion Saturday at the Cleveland Convention Center suggests he might be more of a virtual lock to start the Sept. 13 regular-season opener at the New York Jets than a mere favorite. There hasn’t been even a hint of a competition between McCown, 35, and backup Johnny Manziel, 22, in spring practices, and if the most recent endorsement McCown received from the team’s brass is any indication, a position battle won’t magically materialize this summer during training camp, either.

“Until you feel you’ve found what you would call a long-term solution [at quarterback], I don’t think we could have done any better than bringing in a guy like Josh McCown,” Pettine said in front of hundreds of fans who gathered around a stage to listen.

“To me, time will tell, but there’s so much that he does behind the scenes that people just can’t appreciate from everything you talk about — leadership, all the intangible stuff. He’s truly a team guy. He’s all about winning football games.

“It’s like having another coach on the field, and it’s all genuine. That’s the thing you like the most. Despite his age, people that have been at practice agree, he can still spin it. We didn’t just look to bring in a guy who was just going to be a mentor. We wanted a guy who we think can still play a little bit if you put him in the right circumstances. He’s been more than advertised.”

“I’ll tell you that [McCown is] different than anybody I’ve ever been around in the National Football League,” GM Ray Farmer said. “He is a special, special person. He is the right guy, in my mind, to have on this Browns team. He can lead. He can support. One of the things that’s big in my life is servant leadership. You’ve got to part of the group to serve the group, and he’s that.

“He’s learned a lot of good ways to attain success in this league, and he’s benefited from it. As he goes about his business … he’s doing it in a systematic way that’s going to allow him to be the best player he can be for the Browns, but also in a way that’s going to allow others to grow with him.”

Report: Browns Add Lake Dawson to Personnel Department

Chiefs V Jaguars

Tony Grossi is reporting that the Browns have added a piece to their personnel department – that being Lake Dawson. Here’s the tweet from Grossi on the move.

Browns 7th Round Pick Ifo Ekpre-Olomu Has Dislocated Knee

Michigan State v Oregon

Browns seventh-round pick Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, the cornerback from Oregon, revealed Wednesday that he suffered a dislocated knee in addition to the torn ACL that caused him to tumble in the draft, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

He acknowledged that if he had just torn the ACL in December, a team might’ve been taken a chance on him higher in the draft. As it was, he went No. 241 overall — 14 spots away from Mr. Irrelevant — and may have gone undrafted if the Browns hadn’t tabbed him with their 12th and final pick.

“Yeah, I think definitely teams were concerned and thinking that I wouldn’t be able to play or I wouldn’t be able to play at the level that I wanted to play,” he said on a conference call Wednesday. “But it really only takes one team and I’m excited to be playing for the Browns and I’m excited that they gave me the opportunity to prove (myself) and they have the faith in me that I’m going to be back to 100% and healthy.”

Ekpre-Olomu, projected as a first- or second-rounder before the injury, acknowledged that the dislocation means a longer rehab than the six to nine months for an ACL. Originally, he hoped to be back on the field by September, but his timetable is up in the air now. In fact, this could be a redshirt year for him, but the Browns knew that when they drafted him. He underwent surgery in late December.

“It’s definitely a longer rehab than just a regular ACL,” he said. “It all depends on the person. Some people are able to come back in seven months, some people are able to come back in 10 months. It really matters when the ligament scars in and …..the strength in going to be there, but at the same time it’s up to the doctor they have to feel 100% that the ligament is scarred in and over time it’s not going to wear out again.”

Pettine: Josh McCown the Favorite to Open Camp as Starting QB

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach Mike Pettine indicated in a radio interview Monday that Josh McCown is the Browns’ frontrunner to be the Browns’ starting quarterback heading into camp, Mary Kay Cabotl of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Asked specifically by Adam “The Bull” on Browns radio partner 92.3 The Fan if McCown is “at least the favorite to be the starting quarterback going into training camp,” Pettine said “I think it’s fair to say that.”

Later 92.3 The Fan clarified The Bull was asking if McCown is the favorite to start the season heading into camp. Pettine may have meant that McCown is the favorite to begin camp as the starter, not the season.

Regardless, the answer took things a step further than what Pettine said on April 21, nine days before the draft, when he wasn’t ready to say McCown was the likely starter for anything.

At that point, the Browns weren’t exactly sure yet how things might play out during the draft. They were still considering their options, including the possibility of trading up for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. They probably also would’ve at least considered trading for Sam Bradford had Eagles coach Chip Kelly been willing to part with him.

“We’re a ways away from just kind of worrying about how the depth part of it shakes out,” Pettine said that day. “They’re all in that room, and they’re all trying to learn it. Josh, obviously, has an advantage having been in this system where there’s a lot of carryover because he worked with (offensive coordinator John DeFilipppo) Flip before. I know a lot of those similar roots are in there, but we don’t really kind of get into depth charts and where guys are.”

McCown and the rest of the Browns offense will get their first crack at demonstrating their talent in front of the FirstEnergy Stadium crowd on September 20th against the Tennessee Titans.  Tickets begin at $34 for the home opener and fans can find rooms in hotels near Cleveland Browns Stadium through Hipmunk.com for as little as $79. Hipmunk also offers cheap airline tickets from any city in the country and provides detailed information on hacks, offers, and deals.