We’re deep into the off-season now that the draft is over, but that doesn’t mean it’s quiet now in and around the Cleveland Browns. In the case of this week and the things that are happening, quiet would be a relief. So let’s get on with it.
On Armonty Bryant…
Let’s just say that a seventh round draft pick shouldn’t be making noise in the press a week prior to showing up for rookie camp. Armonty Bryant was arrested for driving under the influence. Scott already weighed in wondering aloud where the line should be drawn on character concerns. Terry Pluto also weighed in yesterday indicating that he didn’t think there was any place for a guy like this with his troubles compounding on top of previous troubles that pushed him so very far down the draft board.
Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’m choosing to abstain from my opinion on this matter and use it as a way to gauge the new organization. There are a few things the Browns could choose to do.
If the Browns decided to make an example of a seventh round draft choice who can’t keep his nose clean, I can follow along with Terry Pluto’s logic and say that’s a justifiable decision.
If the Browns go the opposite way and decide to try and help this young man change his life for the better, I think it could indicate something about Rob Chudzinski and his coordinators.
Maybe this version of the Browns don’t care about character and want to win at all costs.
As long as it isn’t number 3, I can get on board with it. I see coaches like Tony Dungy who’ve made it something of a mission in life to help troubled people like Mike Vick. There’s a place in football where that kind of mission can benefit both a player and a team. The choice is Chud’s and I’ll be interested to see what kind of guy he is and what kind of staff he aspires to have for the Browns. Indications right now are that Bryant will be in Cleveland for rookie camp starting on Friday as he plead “no contest” with a deferred sentence.
On Jimmy Haslam’s apology…
One of the hot questions of the day is whether or not Jimmy Haslam should have apologized to Browns fans. I’ll admit that I think Haslam is handling this about as well as he can from a Browns perspective in the media. The apology is the right P.R. move, but it all just feels so superficial right now. Knowing how much hangs in the air and the gravity of the situation that he’s facing in his primary business life, while an apology is nice, it does very little allay the worst fears of Browns fans. I guess it’s better than the alternatives of him hiding from Browns fans or acting like the Browns don’t matter anymore compared with his troubles, but it just can’t stop the imagination from running wild to the negative possibilities, including him having to sell the team right as a new organization is getting in there.
On Garrett Gilkey’s bullying mission…
It’s a few days old now, but I realized I hadn’t mentioned Tom Reed’s piece about Garrett Gilkey and how rough a time he had growing up before he became a giant of a man weighing 318 pounds at a towering 6-6. Reed’s lengthy profile of Gilkey is a really fascinating read about how Gilkey – sidelined by a rapid heartbeat and subsequent surgery – became the target of mockery in high-school. The worst example was about how he was booed at two separate school assemblies in front of the entire school.
I don’t want to re-write Reed’s piece because it really is a great read. I just wanted to note it because it couldn’t be a starker contrast from the Armonty Bryant story. This is one of those stories that is almost independent of football but gives really good cause to root for a longshot type of player as the Browns welcome the rookies to Berea. It takes a real issue that has a tendency to get watered down as just another overblown buzzword and puts a legitimate instance and face on it. In this culture where everything gets played out and used and abused by fakers and opportunists, it’s good to have someone putting it back in the proper perspective and looking to address the real problems.
Gilkey is looking to make a difference and not in some sort of twisted revenge plot fantasy that you might expect from a scrawny kid who ends up being big enough to protect himself from almost any bully on earth.
And those are the Browns thoughts for today. I skipped the Josh Cribbs stuff, because I just don’t know what to say about it yet. I’m not sure how much reality there is there and exactly what conditions it would be good for both Cribbs and the Browns to re-unite again for another contract.