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Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

This is what concerns NFL teams about Manti Te’o?

0edb0e25f7a4fa00250f6a7067000ad2It seems clear that there is enough evidence out there to make NFL teams realize that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is not a first-round draft pick.

All they have to do is watch his performance against Alabama in the national championship game, where he was exposed every bit as much as Troy Smith in Ohio State’s 2007 game against Florida.

If they are still not convinced, they can check out his combine performance that failed to impress the coaches in attendance.

But that is apparently not enough for some people, as some teams reportedly are concerned about Te’o’s sexuality.

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Weeden in ’13 campaign gaining steam

Brandon+Weeden+Cleveland+Browns+v+Dallas+Cowboys+eKx2mZUNPf-lThe Cleveland Browns moved one step closer on Wednesday to having Brandon Weeden be the starting quarterback when the 2013 NFL season kicks off in September.

Just like presidential candidates dropping off the board during campaign season, another potential threat to Weeden was taken out of the picture when Kansas City reportedly made a deal for San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith.

The Chiefs will reportedly give up their second-round pick in this year’s draft and a future conditional pick (that could be as high as a second-round selection) to acquire Smith, a quarterback who was the first overall selection in the 2005 draft and one that has posted only one solid season in his career.

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Just as we started to get comfortable …

brandon-weeden-no-luck-at-all-qb… about the quarterback situation for the Cleveland Browns, the team has a day like today.

The off-season was moving along OK and it looked like the Browns were going to be able to focus on filling some important holes on defense, rather than worry about the quarterback position. And that’s saying something for a franchise that has seen 11 different players start at the quarterback position in Week 1 since the franchise returned in 1999.

Over the weekend, CEO Joe Banner, while not coming out and saying that incumbent starter Brandon Weeden will be the guy under center when the season starts this fall, sure made it sound as if the Browns were willing to see what Weeden can do in Norv Turner’s NFL-caliber offense.

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When is 89 percent not really 89 percent?

Unable not the Same as UnwillingWith the start of free agency in the NFL just 16 days away, we are going to be hearing lots of talk about what the Cleveland Browns may or may not do to upgrade the roster.

And there is one question we are sure to hear asked in some form over and over again:

“Don’t the Browns have to spend 89 percent of the salary cap this year?”

The answer is no, they don’t. But for some reason the question keeps coming up, so let’s review the answer one more time:

No team in the NFL – and yes, that includes the Browns – has to spend 89 percent of the salary cap this year or any year.

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Love ‘ya Tribe, but Cleveland remains a Browns Town

20110717_inq_sellouts17-dThe Cleveland Indians rolled out their marketing slogan for the 2013 season on Friday.

The updated motto – This is a Tribe town – “captures perfectly the passion we feel for our fans and the community we serve,” Indians president Mark Shapiro said on the team’s website.

The campaign will be backed by a series of videos of Tribe players and personalities explaining why they chose to be a part of the organization and the city of Cleveland, including radio play-by-play man Tom Hamilton, new players Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, and current coach and former player Sandy Alomar Jr. (no word, yet, on if Swisher’s video will feature him laughing while rolling around on a large pile of money).

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An answer to the Chief Wahoo question

wahoo on deckIn recent weeks there has been a renewal in the discussion over the use of American Indian names and images in sports.

From calls – on both the local and national level – for the Washington Redskins to change their name, to a recent symposium at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports, the topic is gaining renewed attention.

While the discussion about the continued use of Chief Wahoo and the name Indians by the Cleveland Indians has gained more strong local attention than national, the topic is always going to be a divisive one in Northeast Ohio.

Which is why a recent column by Paul Lukas at ESPN caught our eye. In a follow-up to his piece on the symposium, Lukas interviewed Frank Cloutier, public relations director for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in central Michigan, about the tribe’s position on the use of American Indian imagery and names. Cloutier’s explanation of the tribe’s position is an interesting one.

To find out what he said – and what it means for the Indians – head over to The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by Sports Illustrated)

Balls!

article-2282451-182F8AB6000005DC-302_634x375Liverpool is out of the Europa League despite a 3-1 win on Thursday against Zenit St. Petersburg.

While the win left the team’s tied 3-3 on aggregate, Zenit advances on away goals.

It’s doubling disappointing because the goal that ultimately did in the Reds came when Jamie Carragher, playing in what turned out to be the final European match of his career, misplayed a back pass that led to an easy goal by Zenit’s Hulk just 19 minutes into the game.

‘I thought we were incredible tonight,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. “Obviously we were two down from the first leg and to concede again, at 3-0 you might have thought the tie was over and done with. ‘But we showed real character and quality tonight to get three goals, and we totally dominated the game, controlled the game and should have had a penalty.”

Yeah, should of, would of. How very Cleveland of them.

At one time we thought we chose Liverpool as a team to follow. It’s games like this, however, that make us realize that Liverpool probably chose us.

(Photo by The Daily Mail)

Carlos Baerga, John Hart elected to Indians Hall of Fame

2013_02_carlos_baergaThe Cleveland Indians will induct former second baseman Carlos Baerga and former general manager John Hart into the team’s Hall of Fame this summer.

The duo were chosen on Wednesday by a 17-member committee of Cleveland baseball historians, the team announced on its website.

“Carlos and John are responsible for some of the best memories in Cleveland Indians history, and we’re proud to honor their contributions,” Indians president Mark Shapiro said in a release.

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Browns start paving the way for Phil Dawson’s departure

temp4X9E1954--nfl_mezz_1280_1024The Cleveland Browns officially began their efforts on Tuesday to win the hearts and minds of Browns fans over what looks to be the inevitable departure of longtime kicker Phil Dawson in free agency.

While it seemed as if the Browns could find a way to work out a deal with a Pro Bowl kicker who has made 14-of-15 field goals from more than 50 yards in the past two seasons and has missed just eight extra points since joining the team in 1999, that seems more unlikely after reading Vic Carucci’s latest on the team’s official website.

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Do the Browns really need a QB competition?

browns quarterback competitionWhile we have already made a solid case for why the Browns would be better served to give quarterback Brandon Weeden a year in Norv Turner’s offense to see what they really have at the position, the Browns have other ideas.

“I think Norv and (Rob) Chudzinski have been very open that they like a lot of what Brandon does, but we’re going to have competition at that position, and I think competition makes us all better,” owner Jimmy Haslam said earlier this month.

Now whether that competition comes in the form of current San Franciso quarterback Alex Smith, who was available a year ago following a 3,100-yard season with 17 touchdowns compared to five interceptions and drew zero interest from any team (which means something); career backup Matt Moore from Miami, a player that Turner is reportedly a “big fan” of for reasons not readily apparent; or a player that has not yet been identified (and we can’t help but think that Mike Lombardi just can’t wait to prove how smart he is and select a quarterback way too high in the upcoming draft), it looks like there will be a new face in training camp taking snaps against Weeden.

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