Another former No. 1 Browns pick flops

Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Cleveland released defensive end Courtney Brown on Monday, yet another former first-round pick who failed to make it with the team.

Brown, the first overall pick in 2000, was due to receive a $2.5 million roster bonus Tuesday. With Brown out, the first three No. 1 picks that Cleveland took after it returned to the league in 1999 are gone.

He joins quarterback Tim Couch, the first overall pick in 1999, and defensive tackle Gerard Warren, No. 3 overall in 2001, as ex-Browns. Couch was released last June and Warren was traded to Denver on March 2 for a fourth-round draft pick.

The team also has given running back William Green, its first-round pick in 2002, permission to seek a trade. Brown, who has been troubled by injuries throughout his career, could be back — for less money.

''We're hoping this is a temporary situation and Courtney chooses to continue his career with the Browns,'' general manager Phil Savage said.

The move was just the latest in the team's makeover. Savage, who came to Cleveland from Baltimore, is the architect of all the changes, along with new coach Romeo Crennel.

In addition to letting Brown go Monday, Cleveland signed veteran defensive lineman Jason Fisk.

Cincinnati made a similar move, signing defensive tackle Bryan Robinson, who played for Chicago the last six seasons.

The Oakland Raiders re-signed free agent defensive end Bobby Hamilton to a $6 million, three-year contract, keeping a key member of their revamped defense from last season.

The 33-year-old Hamilton, known as a talented run-stopper, was the most consistent player on the Raiders' rebuilt defensive front last season. He started 15 games last season and played in all 16 for the Raiders (5-11), recording 57 total tackles — 36 solo — a sack and three pass deflections.

The Vikings welcomed former Bucs QB Brad Johnson for a workout, now that they are in the market for a backup to Daunte Culpepper after Gus Frerotte agreed to sign with Miami.

Frerotte, who played behind Culpepper for the last two seasons, joined former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan with the Dolphins, according to Minnesota vice president for football operations Rob Brzezinski.

''Brad had a great visit,'' coach Mike Tice said in an e-mail. ''He worked out very good ... has great anticipation on his throws. He would be a great fit for us.''

The New York Giants cut defensive lineman Norman Hand, Miami cut fullback Rob Konrad and Buffalo released Pierson Prioleau after the backup safety rejected the team's offer to restructure his contract. The Bills also re-signed backup tight end Ryan Neufeld, while the Cowboys re-signed safety Lynn Scott and linebacker Keith O'Neil.

In Detroit, new backup Jeff Garcia said he has accepted his role behind Joey Harrington. Garcia was another player the Browns cut.

''I'm not there to create any friction, I'm not there to create any controversy,'' Garcia said in a conference call, two days after agreeing to a one-year, $2 million deal. ''I'm just there to add strength to the position.''

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