The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

May 12, 2014

SPORTVIEW: Cleveland Browns are cursed - by bad management

OPINION — EXCUSE ME if I don’t join in the huge hype surrounding Johnny Manziel. You have to figure if the Cleveland Browns drafted him, he’ll turn into a bust.

Cleveland Browns Stadium is a place where quarterbacks go to die. Since the Browns returned to the league in 1999, they have had a zillion quarterbacks and other than a few brief spurts of solid play, the results have been poor.

Some people claim that Cleveland is cursed. Right now it appears they are cursed by bad management.

When the Browns had the number 4 pick in the draft, I was sure they would take Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a game-changer if ever there was one.

But they dropped down to the 9th pick and stunned everyone by taking defensive back Justin Gilbert. Gilbert is supposed to be a strong cover guy, which the Browns need, but poor tackler, which the Browns don’t need. And he’s only 6-foot tall, which doesn’t bode well against much taller receivers.

Then they moved up from No. 26 to take Manziel with the 22nd pick. Manziel was projected to go much higher. As I watched the cameras keep focusing on Johnny Football as each pick was called, I couldn’t help but think of another former QB prospect Brady Quinn who saw the same thing happen before the Browns took him.

We all know how that worked out.

But here’s the best thing. The Browns spent $100,000 on a study of past quarterbacks, which they were going to use to determine what QB was the best fit for their team. The answer came back: Teddy Bridgewater, out of Louisville.

So when they had a chance to take Bridgewater, instead they took Manziel. Why, you ask? According to rumors, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was stopped by a homeless man on the street who said: “Draft Manziel.”

I guess that was enough for Haslam. After all, we know how much study those homeless guys put into reviewing the talent of athletes. They should have just given the $100,000 to the homeless guy. It’s a good thing he didn’t have one of those signs “The end is near!” Haslam would have given away all his millions.

Still, on the second day of the draft comes a report that Browns all-star wide receiver Josh Gordon may face a year’s suspension for repeated drug use. Is there really anyone who didn’t think that might happen? He had many drug problems in college and was suspended the first two games last year for drug use.

Kind of funny how the news didn’t break until the second day of the draft. When did the Browns know it? If they knew if before the draft started, they should have taken Sammy Watkins.

If they knew it before the draft and didn’t take Watkins, General Manager Ray Farmer should be fired. After all there is a brilliant homeless guy who could take over as GM and really turn the Browns around!

Lynn Saternow is sports editor of The Herald.

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