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Browns’ free agent board leaked before press conference?

Cleveland Browns free agent board

Did a Cleveland Browns’ free agent board get exposed before a press conference on Wednesday to discuss some of the team’s moves? It sure looks like it, at least somewhat.

A Browns fan spotted the board as first-year GM Ray Farmer came out of a room before Wednesday’s press conference and posted a screenshot of it on Reddit.

The board lists a handful of teams in each column and a player from each team. It sure looks like a board indicating some of the players the team is targeting, but the team is trying to cover its tracks.

A few Browns reporters say the board is in the web crew’s video room. The names are supposedly of players they would need to compile video highlights for in case they are signed.

Hmm, that sure sounds to me just like what we thought — the board showed a list of players the Browns were interested in. Let them deny all they want.

H/T Dawgs By Nature

Browns claim they didn’t interview Johnny Manziel at NFL Combine

Johnny ManzielCleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine revealed on Monday that the team chose not to interview Johnny Manziel at the NFL Combine last week. Either Pettine is lying, or the Browns are going to great lengths to pretend they have no interest in Manziel.

Teams are allowed 60 interviews at the Combine during which they can speak to players for 15 minutes. The Browns have the fourth overall pick and are obviously in need of a quarterback, so you would think they would have interviewed the top four quarterbacks on their draft board at the very least. Is Manziel not one of the four?

“We didn’t speak to him at the Combine,” Pettine said, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I didn’t personally. He was not part of the formal interviews.”

Many experts believe that Manziel will be taken by either the Houston Texans or Jacksonville Jaguars, who both pick ahead of Cleveland. The Browns, who also hold the No. 26 pick in the first round of the draft, could opt to take a player like wide receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 4 and wait to draft a quarterback like Derek Carr later.

Pettine stressed that the team will have plenty of information on all of its targets before May 8.

“As we evaluate those positions, we’ll make sure that whatever access or interaction we need with that player, we’ll get that done,” he said.

We already know of one team that may favor Carr over Manziel, so I guess it is not impossible. Still, it seems like a smokescreen. The Browns may want other teams to think they didn’t interview Manziel in order to help the former Texas A&M star slip to them at No. 4. Time will tell.

49ers deny trying to trade Jim Harbaugh to Browns

Jim Harbaugh layers fat

San Francisco 49ers sources deny that they had a trade in place to send Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns, according to a report.

On Friday, Pro Football Talk reported that the Browns nearly pulled off a trade for Harbaugh that would have seen the team send San Francisco multiple draft picks in exchange for the coach. Mike Florio said the deal was in place but Harbaugh decided not to leave the team.

In response to the report, a Browns PR spokesman sent out this statement, which is vague and does not deny an attempt to lure Harbaugh.

“That search produced an outstanding head coach in Mike Pettine and we’re excited about his future with the club. The team conducted an extensive coaching search, and explored several options.”

However, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted the following, which shows he received a strong denial.

Rapoport later said he received denials from two 49ers sources.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen added some more context and background to the story.

The two reporters said on “NFL Live” that after firing Rob Chudzinski, the Browns started to think outside the box for their next hire. That led them to explore the possibility of trading for Harbaugh, whose favorite team growing up supposedly was the Cleveland Browns. They said it was a scenario that was discussed but never went very far and that the team didn’t even know if the commissioner would approve such a trade.

I can believe that the Browns explored this possibility, but I’m guessing PFT characterizing the deal as being close and “nearly” happening is a stretch.

Think about it: why wouldn’t the Browns want Harbaugh? Knowing that Harbaugh hadn’t signed an extension with San Francisco, they probably figured it was an option worth exploring.

Reporter asks Cleveland Browns if they’re run by The Three Stooges (Video)

19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Jimmy HaslamThe Cleveland Browns sure seem like they’re run by “The Three Stooges,” and one brazen reporter even decided to ask them if they were.

Action News 19 reporter Dan DeRoos pulled one of those “I want to ask you an embarrassing question but I can’t ask it on my own,” so he phrased his question to team owner Jimmy Haslam indirectly. DeRoos cited comments left on the news station’s Facebook page when asking whether the team was run by “The Three Stooges,” as fans believe.

The Browns’ “Three Stooges” would be Haslam, Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi.

Haslam responded to DeRoos in a defensive manner, assuring the team’s fans that they have competent leadership in charge of the team.

“I feel really confident that we have the right people to take this team where we want to,” Haslam said. “We have the best fans in the world. I’ve said our fans deserve betters.”

Haslam also said nobody would work harder than them to make the Browns a winner.

The Browns have been taking a lot of heat for firing Rob Chudzinski after just one year on the job. Chud didn’t have much to work with in terms of quarterback play, and that is a big reason why the team went 4-12. But if they feel like the team got worse as the season went on — and it did — then it was a wise decision to fire Chud and look for a new coach, even if it was an unfair one.

H/T Sporting News

Cleveland Browns player calls team a ‘joke’ for firing Rob Chudzinski

Rob ChudzinskiReports say the Cleveland Browns will fire Rob Chudzinksi, and many of the team’s players disagree with the decision.

NFL Network’s Mike Silver shared a few text messages he received from Browns players. He says the emotions from the players ranged from “bewildered to furious,” and the response he received makes it seem like the players think the organization is making a dumb move if they fire the coach after just one season.

Silver shared that another player told him the organization is a “joke”:

Though many players seem to support Chud, another isn’t fond of him. Take this from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

The Browns lost 20-7 to Pittsburgh on Sunday for their seventh straight loss, leaving them 4-12. The team made it clear they were stocking up for next season when they traded former No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson after two weeks. Their quarterback situation was bad, and the one guy who did look good — Brian Hoyer — suffered a season-ending injury. If the Browns indeed fire Chud, they will have done so without giving him a fair shake.

Browns statement makes it sound like Rob Chudzinski will be fired

Rob ChudzinskiThe Cleveland Browns issued a statement during the team’s defeat at Pittsburgh on Sunday in response to rumors that they will fire coach Rob Chudzinski

“Our focus is on game today. We will not discuss any evaluation of the season until this upcoming week,” the statement read.

Translation? He gone. Wouldn’t they have supported him in the least if he were going to stick around?

The speculation about Chud’s job started on Friday when Dan Pompei reported that one reason the Browns might want to get rid of Chud after just one season is because they did not get who they wanted last year. They sought Nick Saban, Chip Kelly and Jon Gruden and struck out, and they may want someone better.

There were these reports about Chud making it seem like he’s toast.

Breer says Bill O’Brien and Josh McDaniels would be candidates for the Browns if (when) they fire Chud. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer also says Chud and GM Mike Lombardi have clashed.

Yup, sounds like Chud is done for sure. But I don’t think they’re going to get a great coach to turn it around like they hope.

Browns’ Twitter account seems sick of Brandon Weeden interceptions

brandon-weeden-brownsCleveland Browns fans probably did not feel confident heading into Sunday’s game with Brandon Weeden as their starting quarterback, though they were facing the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the lowly opponent, Weeden and company found a way to lose the game.

To the Jags’ credit, they have now won three out of four games and have clearly improved since the start of the season. However, they benefitted from three turnovers from Weeden, who was intercepted twice and lost a fumble. After Weeden threw his second pick, it appeared even the Browns’ official Twitter account had seen enough.

Ouch. Typically a team’s Twitter account focuses on calling positive attention to the team. It’s one thing to say that Weeden threw an interception, but the “and again” was clearly thrown in there to make him look bad.

Weeden has now thrown nine touchdowns and nine interceptions in the eight games in which he has played a significant amount of snaps. The Browns are 1-6 in those games. He clearly is not the quarterback of the future.

H/T Black Sports Online