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The Athletes Formerly Known as the Cleveland Browns
By: Jeremy Poe (Disgusted Browns Fan)

What once was regarded as one of the quality, well-ran organizations across the professional sports landscape has now become only a tiger and a trapeze artist short of a Barnum and Bailey Circus act.

ESPN and many other media outlets that cover the world of professional sports frequently characterize the beloved Brownies as one of the NFL's most historical and storied franchises the league has ever had. What lies just under the surface is the fact that almost all of the significant names and games for which they are best remembered are just that, historical. The last of those names, Bernie Kosar and Ozzie Newsome, are nearly two decades removed from their legendary careers wearing the brown and orange.

Now ten years after their long awaited return to the football landscape, the Browns find themselves essentially back to "square one," maybe even worse. Only this time, they don't have the expansion franchise stigma to fall back on. The recent reincarnation of this once proud football powerhouse was set up to fail almost from the start with inexperience running rampant throughout the organization. New owner, rookie general manager, and a rookie coaching staff to go with a mostly rookie football team with a few mediocre castoffs from other organizations did not suit the Browns glorious and triumphant return to the shore of Lake Erie. much at all. Because of this, they continue to spin their wheels while desperately searching in vain to recapture the success they once had and are beginning to feel their stranglehold on the Cleveland sports scene gradually slip with every bitter defeat each Sunday.

The common thread in the failure of regime after regime that is brought in to reverse the misfortunes unfairly laid upon this proud midwestern town is the owner, Randy Lerner. The utter lack of stability in the front office attributed to Lerner's failure to lure a candidate with a proven football pedigree such as Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher, or even Mike Shanahan has retarded the development of his organization. He is an absolute novice when it comes to football knowledge which makes the acquisition of someone who has that knowledge and has proven to be successful all the more paramount and crucial. Before deciding on who should coach these players, a solid front office has to be put in place. Next, that front office has to (emphasis on "has to") develop an identity or plan as to what type of football team they want to build whether it is a run-oriented offense with a smash-mouth, physical defense like the Browns' divisional opponents or a pass happy offense with a fast, playmaking defense similar to the current Denver Broncos. Then, that is when the front office should seek the coach that they feel fits the structure of their identity or plan. Doing this will make drafting and the free agent process a much clearer picture for that front office to execute.

With that being said, it has to make one wonder whether former Browns players such as Tim Couch who have been labeled busts by many would have had more productive NFL careers had they either come to a more well-ran organization in Cleveland or been in another organization. Currently, there are questions being asked as to Brady Quinn's potential "bust" status with the continued mess this team is in. This writer personally does not believe that guys like Tim Couch or Brady Quinn are busts because they were put into extremely adverse situations unlike Ben Roethlisberger or Joe Flacco who were drafted by teams with immense talent around them. These so-called "busts" had to be good football players at some point in order to be worthy of NFL careers.

The team formerly known as the Cleveland Browns need to take a page out of the Cleveland Cavaliers' book. Before the Lebron Era and Dan Gilbert's purchase of the team, the Cavaliers were an NBA afterthought in which no one paid them any attention. For years with the exception of the late 80s and early 90s, they were a dismal franchise that suffered through a half-empty arena on most nights with players other teams no longer wanted. Even after winning the NBA draft lottery in 2003 and drafting the Chosen One, Jim Paxson's infamous botching of the Carlos Boozer free agency was on Gund's watch.

However, since Dan Gilbert's acquiring of the franchise, we have seen their first NBA Finals apperance although it was a brief one, and we have also "witnessed" the arrival of one of the NBA's all-time great players in Shaquille O'Neal. Why has this all been able to occur you ask? The stability at the top with Dan Gilbert, Danny Ferry and the front office deserves a lot of the credit, okay you too Lebron!

I sincerely conclude that the only route your Cleveland Browns have to gaining any type of success what-so-ever is by gaining new ownership. Therefore, as loyal, dedicated, and misrepresented fans of this team, it is your duty to begin the demand that Randy Lerner sell the team (not move it!) to someone who cares and knows what to do about it. Thanks!

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