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News » Belichick tree blooms with Browns' prospects


Belichick tree blooms with Browns' prospects


Belichick tree blooms with Browns' prospects
SPORTS SPIN


Plain Dealer columnist Bud Shaw puts news from the sports world through his spin cycle

The Belichick approach.

Obviously, Floyd Reese has finally found the stepping stone to Berea. It's the New England Patriots.

The former GM, who didn't get much attention from the Browns during their front office search despite expressing interest in it, joined the Patriots as a senior adviser.

It was a move that could work for Reese on two fronts.

According to recent NFL standings, the Patriots win somewhat more often than the Browns.

What's more, a Bill Belichick connection is the quickest way to the heart of Browns owner Randy Lerner. While it's premature to set a betting line, this move by Reese makes him the early favorite to replace George Kokinis in four years.

The Patriots hired Reese to negotiate contracts and oversee a young pro personnel director (John Carroll's Nick Caserio) who is taking on more responsibility after the departure of Scott Pioli to Kansas City.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft and Belichick have this crazy idea that experienced oversight of the Football operation makes good sense for them. What a laughingstock they've become after losing Tom Brady and slipping all the way to 11-5.

Lerner might yet follow suit and hire a Football executive to chaperone his young coach-GM team of Eric Mangini and Kokinis. But his track record suggests otherwise. He didn't see the need to fill such a position when he projected Phil Savage into the GM job and hired a first-time head coach in Romeo Crennel.

John Collins? Sorry, I'm talking a Football guy.

It worked out about like that runaway train that former Browns coach Chris Palmer referenced.

Kraft has a Hall of Fame head coach and yet considered the Pats "fortunate . . . to add someone of Floyd Reese's experience and expertise."

"It's as thrilling as it can get," Reese told the Boston media. "The opportunities most of the time are in areas or with teams that are broken."

Who'd he mean by that?

Reese already had an old, faded Belichick connection. It just wasn't the right kind. They were assistant coaches in Detroit once upon a time and carpooled to work. But Reese missed hitching a ride with Belichick to Cleveland, where more recent alliances were forged by Pioli, Mangini, Kokinis, Savage and others. Crennel's Cleveland days came later, after the birth of the new Browns. But he, too, had some Berea DNA in him.

The Mangini-Kokinis team that hopes to lead the Browns to salvation is said to have taken shape in Lerner's mind in part because of that long friendship that took hold in Berea.

New England didn't seem as concerned about chemistry. Reese and Caserio don't know each other.

Then again, what have the Patriots won lately?

Spinoffs

A USA Today headline this week asks, "Steelers, better franchise than the Yankees?"

Hey, USA Today, don't give LeBron James any ideas.

* A celebrity boxing match between Danny Bonaduce and Jose Canseco ended in a draw and with both combatants standing, ruining the consensus hope for a simultaneous knockout.

* Three fights that would make me ROOT for the smelling salts:

Sports: Albert Belle vs. Jeff Kent.

Entertainment, allegedly: Tom Cruise vs. Richard Simmons.

Politics: Ann Coulter vs. Rod Blagojevich.

* In the spirit of the Rooney Rule . . .

The Browns announced they wanted to hire an experienced head coach. Mangini's firing was a bell that triggered Lerner's salivary glands. Mel Tucker, a Browns position coach with one year as defensive coordinator on his r?sum?, was the only minority head coaching candidate interviewed.

What problem could the NFL have with the process?

NBA trade talk

Stephon Marbury to the Celtics?

Marbury says he has a verbal commitment to join Boston if he can settle his differences with the Knicks and get his release. Can the Cavaliers sit idly by and do nothing at the trade deadline while the Celtics add Marbury?

The Cavs are 21-0 at home and own the best record in the league. They could use another big man. But it's not necessary, especially if the Celtics insist on subtraction by addition.

NFL trade talk

The Browns have four draft picks.

Recessionary times call for economical decisions.

The three-word solution: Trade Derek Anderson.

The two-word solution: Trade down.

The one-word solution: Both.

You said it

"Bud: I heard the two most important things I needed to hear from [Kokinis] at the press briefing. Because I was really concerned he was going to be working in the worst interests of the Cleveland Browns , and I was afraid he was going to be doing it with his shirt sleeves rolled down. Now I can sleep peacefully knowing otherwise." - Michael

He'll be rolling 'em up and showing off the tattoo of Belichick everybody got one crazy night in the early '90s.

*

"Bud: Do you know if Bernie Kosar is on the Browns' payroll. . . . He comes on the local radio but usually isn't asked anything other than

puffball Rizzo/Trivisonno/Munch Bishop-type questions." - Marty

Since when did, "Bernie, you're the greatest," become a puffball interview?

*

"Bud: People want to know the team cares as much as the fans do. If the Browns find someone to help them communicate, then no one will care whether they ever see Randy Lerner in front of a camera again. I don't understand, it's just not that hard." - Tom

No one will care about how the Browns communicate with fans if they win. At least I think that's the case. But then again, I've only been here since 1991.

*

"Bud: You're asking [for transparency] of a Cuyahoga County team? Dream on. All [the Browns] have to do is look around and see how everybody else here operates." - Kathryn

Good point. I think we're about to see an era that makes Bill Belichick's tenure seem almost confessional.

To contact Bud Shaw: bshaw@plaind.com, 216-999-5639



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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