Post OTAs 2013 – News and Notes Part 1 – Cleveland Browns
Well, the final week of Organized Team Activities just completed and there are a few Browns-related things to take away from them; both on and off the field. Let’s first take a look at what is happening within the organization, but not necessarily Xs and Os.
Jim Brown’s Return:
The face of the franchise in the late 1950s to the early 1960s (and deemed by some as the best running back in NFL history by), former University of Syracuse star Jim Brown was contacted by owner Jimmy Haslam to be a part of the franchise he was once a part of. Contrast this to the prior regime, where former President Mike Holmgren distanced the team from Brown – and subsequently created a rift between the two sides.
Regardless of public perception, I believe this is a solid move for the owner and the franchise. It speaks volumes when a team and their arguably best player are at odds – hopefully the two have completely made up and there are no issues going forward. It is widely known that Brown wears his heart on his sleeve and is not afraid to speak his mind. However, I do not believe he will overstep his bounds in his new special advisory role – the former running back should be able to connect with players (including giving guidance and advice) on the roster. Brown is also familiar with injuries and knows the toll professional football can take on one’s body. Additionally, Brown can recall many teammates and fellow players who have struggled financially since their careers ended. Perhaps he has the wisdom and presence that can trickle down to the younger stars to ensure they will not make similar mistakes to those of past generations.
There is a mutual respect between Brown and Haslam (it’s hard to argue this existed in prior regimes); this will be helpful for years to come. No disrespect to former ownership, but judging from his press conference, it seems that Jim Brown feels more confident in a leader who is active and around the team on a frequent basis. Both men are strong, smart businessmen that appear to get along well. Will everything for the team go swimmingly when Brown is here? Odds are they will not, but I feel several positives with come out with the re-hire.
Worries Surround Richardson:
Before Trent Richardson entered the NFL, he required surgery on his knee (in February) in order to be healed for his rookie campaign. This caused him to be held out of a few workouts, including the Scouting Combine. After the Browns decided to draft him in April, Richardson needed another operation on his knee that prevented him from any pre-season activity (heightening some fans’ concerns).
As the 2012 season wore on, the University of Alabama athlete played with cracked ribs and missed the final outing as a result of injuries sustained. Granted he is an extremely tough individual, but his history of being hurt appeared to be piling up – and in such a short time period.
Now, as OTAs wear on (and the team meets regularly until training camp in July); Richardson was inactive once again. This time it was related to a pulled shin muscle, and coach Chud deemed it “precautionary” but the running back could miss mini camp in June as well. Like many Browns’ fans, I hope he can have a tremendous season and career but I understand why the team might error on the side of caution until it’s closer to the regular season.
Conclusion: The running back position for the Cleveland Browns have gotten headlines recently – from both past and present athletes. I am intrigued, more than anything, with the role that Jim Brown will play and wish him the best. Richardson will be the second (after quarterback) strongest indicator of the offense’s success in 2013 – being healthy and productive will be huge for this franchise.