Bench was a beast. Best catcher ever. I dont care who you throw out there! Hell Perez had power and so did Joe Morgan. That team was stacked, man. Rose,Morgan,Foster,Bench,Griffey,Concepsion,Perez was Geronimo the other OF? I heard somewhere where the Reds were going to trade Perez for Nettles? But man what a squad! The only picher I knew was Chad Eastwick. AHHH The Great Sparky Anderson!
“He is extremely fast, and when you put speed on the field, it changes things,” coach Pat Shurmur said after the Browns drafted Benjamin in the fourth round (100th overall) last week. “We felt like he was going to add that element to our receiving corps.”
The Browns led the league in dropped passes last season and have not been able to get consistent production out of their receivers in recent years. Greg Little led the team last season with 61 receptions for 709 yards, but 41 receivers throughout the NFL finished with more catches.
Still, Browns General Manager Tom Heckert waited until the fourth round this year to address the glaring need. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Benjamin, the only receiver the Browns picked this year, should have an opportunity to earn significant playing time as a rookie.
“He’s different than the guys we have, not just [in terms of] speed,” Browns President Mike Holmgren said. “He’s smaller and quicker. He’s a different receiver. We have bigger guys, not slow guys, but they’re bigger.”
George McDonald served as the Browns’ wide receivers coach in 2009-10 before accepting the same position at the University of Miami, where he worked with Benjamin last season. When the Browns hold their rookie minicamp Friday through Sunday, McDonald believes they’ll gain a greater appreciation for Benjamin’s versatility.
“When you look at him and see his size, you think he’s just a slot receiver,” McDonald said in a phone interview. “But with his speed and quickness, he can do a lot of things on the perimeter also. I think he has the unique ability to be flexible enough to have a skill set that allows him to play both spots.”
Although the Browns have standout return man Josh Cribbs, McDonald said they could maximize Benjamin’s value by using him on special teams, too. Benjamin, who had 41 catches for 609 yards and three touchdowns last season as a senior, also was the Hurricanes’ primary return specialist.
“He has legitimate track speed where he can hit those Jets,” McDonald said. “He’s not as big as Josh or as physical as Josh, but I think those two back there rotating or back there at the same time, it presents problems for the punters or the kickers deciding who they want to kick it to.”
Benjamin, though, must work to become a complete player.
“[He needs to] get in the weight room just to develop that strength to take some of the hits that he’ll take there,” McDonald said. “I think the biggest [adjustment] that most college receivers have to deal with when they come to the NFL is just to continue to work on their route-running skills and creating separation at the top of their breaks, because everything happens a little bit faster there.”
And like Little, Benjamin will bring some baggage to the league.
According to the NCAA, Benjamin received more than $150 in extra benefits, including meals and entertainment, from former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. Benjamin was one of dozens of players named by Shapiro in recorded interviews with federal agents, Yahoo! Sports reported last August. Shapiro said he provided Benjamin with extra benefits beginning Benjamin’s freshman season, according to the report. The NCAA suspended Benjamin for the 2011 season opener and ordered him to repay the benefits.
“The thing that happened here with him and those guys, it was an unfortunate situation that happened when they were young kids and coming into college,” McDonald said. “… I don’t think anything that happened in terms of that is a judgment on his character. When he was with us last year, we never had any issues with him. Travis is a stand-up guy. I would recommend him 100 percent in terms of his character.”
In 2011, the Browns drafted Little in the second round (59th overall), even though he missed the entire 2010 season at the University of North Carolina because the NCAA ruled him permanently ineligible for receiving about $4,952 in impermissible benefits. After selecting Little, the Browns insisted they did their homework and felt comfortable with him, in part because they had the insight of tight ends coach Steve Hagen, who coached at North Carolina in 2007-08.
Shurmur suggested Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple, the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator from 2009-10, provided similar background information about Benjamin.
“We got some intimate knowledge of him,” Shurmur said. “Mark Whipple was with him in Miami. He talked about how this guy has got a great future. … He felt like this was a tremendous kid. Now we got to know him, and he is a hard guy not to like.”
The Browns, of course, will like Benjamin even more if he can evolve into the type of playmaking receiver they desperately need.
The appeal is pending the resolution of a grievance filed by the NFLPA last week regarding the suspensions.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has appealed his year-long suspension outright, and the other two suspended players, Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games) also reserved their right to appeal when the grievance is resolved.
If Fujita serves the full three-game suspension, it will cost him three of his 17 game checks, or about $644,000.
Fujita said in March that he paid players directly for big hits and plays, but not to hurt opponents and not as part of a bounty pool.
Two of the suspended players, Vilma and Smith have denied any participation in the bounty system that resulted in the suspensions of Saints coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams. Fujita has not returned calls or emails seeking comment.
The players and the NFL Players Associations maintain that the NFL has not provided evidence that the suspended players were involved in the pay-for-injury program.
Here's the explanation from the union regarding the letter filed today:
The NFLPA sent a letter reserving the appeal rights of Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove pending the resolution of the jurisdictional questions raised in the two grievances last week. These issues must be addressed prior to any further proceedings regarding the appeals.
The NFLPA maintains that Commissioner is without jurisdiction either to discipline the Players for the conduct alleged or to determine any appeals. The submitted letter reserves all rights and is submitted without waiver of this position.
hate to admit it, but I lived in Columbus in the 80's and almost started sorta following the Reds after 30 years of desolation in Cleveland. But the tide turned in the early 90's thank God I was saved from having to be a Red's fan.. Go Tribe...
The Browns, like most NFL teams, never met a draft they didn't like.
General manager Tom Heckert went into the 2012 draft with 13 picks in his pocket and after two trades ended up making 11 choices. He took six players on offense - most notably his first three picks - and five on defense.
True to the plan set forth at the start of free agency, the Browns "stayed the course." They did bundle three late picks to move up one slot so they could be assured of taking running back Trent Richardson, but in what they hope results in a brighter future the Browns held onto picks 22, 37 and all their first-round picks going forward.
Browns president Mike Holmgren was miffed by reports claiming the low picks were basically given away. One day after the trade for the third pick an Internet story referencing unnamed team executives said the Vikings were bluffing when they said other teams were trying to move up to the third spot.
"Contrary to what was written and what was said, we had to compete for that," Holmgren said. "We weren't the Lone Ranger in that deal. We had to compete. I thought it was an excellent trade because we got the player who's going to be, Lord willing if he stays healthy and all those great things, a really fine player for us for a long time."
In the days that followed, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said the Internet story was inaccurate.
"We did have offers on the table, I can tell you that," Spielman told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press on Tuesday. "I'm not going to tell you who or what. But I will say Cleveland did the right thing."
The entire Browns draft would have unfolded differently had Tampa Bay or another team jumped up to three to take Richardson. Had they stayed at four, the Browns would likely have taken wide receiver Justin Blackmon if Richardson was off the board.
Heckert would have had a decision to make with the 22nd pick - take quarterback Brandon Weeden, as he did, or use the choice on Doug Martin or David Wilson. The pair of running backs went back to back to Tampa Bay and the Giants respectively with picks 31 and 32.
Assuming the Browns would have taken Weeden after Blackmon, they would have missed out on each of the top three running backs by the time their turn came around again at 37. They used that pick on right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.
"He's one of those linebackers that have position flexibility," head coach Pat Shurmur said. "He can play both outside spots and he's played some snaps in the middle so we feel good about him joining that group.
"We feel like we've addressed some needs. We've picked players that we like and we feel like we've gotten better."
Offense focus for Browns' early choices
--The Browns in 2012 used their first three picks on offensive players for the first time since 2009 when they took center Alex Mack in the first round and wide receivers Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi in the second round.
Prior to 2009, the last time they went back-to-back-to-back on offense was 1985 when all seven draft picks played offense led by running back Greg Allen in the first round. That same year they drafted wide receivers Fred Banks, Reggie Langhorne and Shane Swanson, guards Greg Krerowicz and Larry Williams plus tight end Travis Tucker.
Lanning was an undrafted rookie in the Bears camp last summer. He was waived last Sept. 2 and signed with Jacksonville in January. He provides the Browns insurance in case Reggie Hodges has a setback in his rehab from an Achilles tendon tear that wiped out his 2011 season.
--The future of Colt McCoy with the Browns is uncertain, but for now he is still the starting quarterback.
The Browns denied reports they talked to other teams during the draft about trading McCoy after drafting Brandon Weeden in the first round. They also denied a report they told McCoy they would not take a quarterback in the first round.
"We don't consult our players about who we plan to draft," coach Pat Shurmur said.
--Rookie linebacker Emmanuel Acho and his parents travel to Nigeria every summer on medical missions. His parents were born in Nigeria.
"We travel with about 40 doctors and nurses every summer," Acho said. "We stay in a village for about a week giving people free medical treatment. We see about 7,000 patients in that time."
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"We would all like to see a big jump this year. That is our hope and we think that is possible and we think that it is reasonable." - Browns president Mike Holmgren
thanks cBS Admins for keeping things right . i usualy give you guys hell but this time hand salute !great day to be a Browns fan!
WOOF WOOF WOOF !!
Speaking of the Tribe, they are up 7-2 in the 3rd over the ChiSox and ran Humber after 2.1 innings...
Lots of Reds fans around here who are also Browns fans . i like them both . of course with me all things Cleveland win out . but i do enjoy watching the Reds now . i get both Tribe & Reds games so i can switch back and forth .i grew up listening to the Big Red Machine on the radio . baseball was never a passion of mine . it was always Cleveland Browns all the time no matter what season it was .
But my first love was the Indians...
How can they have 8 guys signed already? Heck, we don't even have one (I think). C'mon Brownies.....get your rookies signed and ready to go. What's the hold-up?!?!
The Seattle Seahawks came to terms with eight of the team's 10 draft picks May 6, less than two weeks after the 2012 NFL Draft took place. Credit could go to the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2011 that ended the NFL lockout, or perhaps things just fell together quickly.
"There are a lot of factors at work, the primary one being the CBA," said John Idzik, Seahawks' vice president of football administration, the point man on negotiations.
Whatever the reasons, it's a refreshing shift from the uncertainties and late news of last summer. The 2011 NFL lockout didn't end until late July, and then the scramble was on. This year, teams can take their time developing their strategies. Of course, locking down who will be playing is a big part of that.
With a rooking mini-camp starting this weekend, the newly-signed players will be able to participate. It must be a relief to Pete Carroll and company to be looking ahead to a summer's long preparation schedule instead of trying to throw things together in a few days.