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Cleveland Browns News

News » Spending lots of dollars for some change

Spending lots of dollars for some change

Spending lots of dollars for some change

The Browns joined several other teams and the NFL office in laying off employees last month to streamline operations in the face of a deepening economic downturn. The Browns' layoffs were estimated at 18, and that didn't include firings as a result of their regime change.

At the same time, though, they are sinking more money into their headquarters facility in Berea to suit the place to coach Eric Mangini's specifications.

The highest-priced change, according to sources, involves moving the team's video department from the first floor to the second to be closer to the coaching offices.

The move will create more meeting room and classroom space on the first floor and will require several modifications to the building. The cost of this project was estimated to be in the vicinity of $500,000. Another source disputed that figure as "very inaccurate," but wouldn't elaborate.

Also, Mangini didn't like what he saw of the players' locker room.

The room is divided in the middle by lockers, with offensive players on one side and defensive players on the other. Mangini wanted to create a more open environment. To do so, he has to enlarge the locker room. This project will eliminate an adjacent players lounge.

Mangini, the sources said, also has removed six flat-screen TVs from the locker room. It's possible they will be relocated after the locker room renovations.

These moves are reminiscent of the early years of Mangini's coaching ancestor, Bill Belichick.

Belichick was hired by the Browns in January 1991. In August, the team moved into the newly built headquarters in Berea. The following year, Belichick had the outdoor fields ripped up and rebuilt. The year after that, he did the same with the indoor field.

Owner Art Modell quietly stewed over what he considered needless expenses. Few realized at the time that Modell was heading toward personal bankruptcy.

More changes: Mangini has hired his former assistant with the Jets, Erin O'Brien, as director of team operations. In that role, O'Brien will be in charge of Browns team travel arrangements. . . . The Browns were poised to add Samir Suleiman in an unspecified front office capacity until owner Randy Lerner slammed on the brakes, according to two sources. Suleiman previously worked in salary-cap management with the St. Louis Rams.

Waiting on Romeo: Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel is convalescing from hip replacement surgery and weighing an offer to become the defensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs are holding the position open for Crennel, who is waiting to learn exactly how long his rehabilitation process will keep him out. The Chiefs may have enticed Crennel a little bit more by trading for New England linebacker Mike Vrabel.

Whether or not Crennel accepts the coaching offer, he has decided not to remain with the Browns in an unspecified role offered by Mangini.

Crennel previously declined an offer to rejoin Charlie Weis at Notre Dame as his defensive coordinator. Crennel and Weis were Belichick's coordinators during New England's three Super Bowl championship seasons.

Rarin' to deal: As Belichick's point man in New England, Scott Pioli orchestrated numerous deals on draft day to stockpile future picks for the Patriots. Even after trading their second-round pick for quarterback Matt Cassel and Vrabel, it wouldn't surprise anyone if the Chiefs are an active trade partner on draft day this year with Pioli installed as general manager.

Few expect the Chiefs to stay at No. 3 in the first round of the April 25 draft.

Pioli told Kansas City reporters: "Even though we're three, we could be at 23. Even though you're at 23, you could be at three. The draft strategy is 'know the entire board, know all the players, know there might be opportunities to manipulate the draft board, moving up or down, and gain draft picks or give away draft picks to get veteran players.' The whole thing is very fluid.

"Draft day is opportunity. Anything we can do to make the team better right now or in the future. Sometimes what you're doing to make your team better can be trading for picks in the future. You're collecting players, you're collecting picks, you're collecting methods and ways to accumulate good players."

Heard this before?

The Vikings have a lot of talent and are annual darlings of preseason prognosticators. So why don't they ever make any headway in the playoffs?

Instability at quarterback.

Now they've traded a fourth-round pick to Houston for career journeyman Sage Rosenfels. He is the seventh veteran QB for the Vikings since Brad Childress was named coach in 2006. The others: Brad Johnson, Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte, Koy Detmer, Kelly Holcomb and Mike McMahon.

Billionaires at work: Dallas owner Jerry Jones has slapped a gag order on everybody in his organization, including coach Wade Phillips. That ought to help the Cowboys win, no?

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: tgrossi@plaind.com, 216-999-4670

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 3, 2009

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Seth McKinney Name: Seth McKinney
Position: C
Age: 29
Experience: 7 years
College: Texas A&M
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