BEREA – One day after reducing their roster to the regular-season limit of 53 players, the Browns stuck with the status quo Sunday.
Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert Jr. opted not to tinker with the team following the NFL’s mandatory final cuts, but said he would take a long look at the players on the waiver wire today.
“Once teams claim guys, they’re going to have to release somebody, and we’ll see who becomes available,” Heckert told the media during a late-afternoon press conference. “Another waiver wire will be coming out here shortly. We’ll see what happens.
“We do think we kept the guys that are the best 53 at this time and the guys who will get us ready to go for (Tampa Bay in the season opener Sunday).”
The Browns did sign six players to their practice squad – all of whom they released Saturday – after going unclaimed by the other 31 NFL teams.
Safeties Larry Asante and DeAngelo Smith, guard Paul Fanaika, center Pat Murray, and defensive ends Travis Ivey and Brian Sanford opted to return to the club, rather than accept a practice squad position elsewhere.
Fifth-round draft pick Asante was clearly caught in the numbers game when Cleveland made its final cuts.
Heckert chose to keep a whopping 12 linebackers and four tight ends, but just three true safeties (T.J. Ward, Abram Elam and Mike Adams) and three cornerbacks (Eric Wright, Sheldon Brown and Joe Haden).
“Larry is going to be a good player, but right now we have a bunch of safeties with Nick (Sorensen) and Ray (Ventrone) being real, real good special teams players for us,” Heckert said. “And we think we have four corners because we throw Mike Adams in as a two-way player there and at safety.
“Twelve linebackers is a lot, but we’ll have to wait and see the next couple of days if we stay at that number.”
Also factoring into the process was the imminent return of several players. Nose tackle Shaun Rogers (lower left leg), guard Floyd “Porkchop” Womack (knee surgery) and tackle John St. Clair (personal reasons) are all expected to practice today and play against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
Heckert added that injured linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (pectoral) is expected “sooner rather than later, hopefully not too far into the season.” He also said Sorensen (concussion) is “feeling a lot better and doing well. We don’t think it’s going to be a very long time before he’s out there.”
One player who will not return to action until 2011 training camp – at the earliest – is rookie running back Montario Hardesty.
The second-round selection tore his left anterior cruciate ligament Thursday in the Browns’ preseason finale against Chicago and will undergo reconstructive surgery once the swelling goes down. He underwent a similar operation on his right ACL as a freshman at the University of Tennessee.
“It’s a blow to the team, but it was just one of those things that happen,” Heckert said. “Was drafting him riskier than somebody that didn’t have an injury history? Well, yes, but we brought him in for a physical and we felt comfortable doing it.”
The first-year GM also feels comfortable with the roster that he, coach Eric Mangini and president Mike Holmgren have constructed.
And much to the disappointment of some pessimists, Heckert claimed their three-man brain trust worked well together – even though his contract specifies that he had the final say.
“The whole process went very, very smoothly and I think it worked out very well,” Heckert said. “It wasn’t like, ‘I want this guy, (you) want this guy.’ It doesn’t happen like that. You just talk it out and decide what’s best for the football team.
“We think we’re improved. We think we’re better. But there are probably 32 teams that say that right now, so we’re going to have to wait and see.”
In a related item, two players the Browns released Saturday were claimed and added to active rosters.
Veteran cornerback Brandon McDonald was signed by Cardinals, where he rejoins ex-Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson, while rookie defensive end Clifton Geathers was picked up by the Dolphins.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• WHO: Cleveland at Tampa Bay
• WHAT: Season opener
• WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m.
• WHERE: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
• TV/RADIO: Channel 19; WMMS 100.7-FM
Print this story
Report an innappropriate comment
Comments for this article are closed.