Friday, July 14, 2006
The New Go-To Guy
Excellent article in this week's Sports Illustrated about recent Browns free-agent signee Joe Jurevicius. (Note, the link will take you to their web site where you can get a preview of the article. You need to be a subscriber to access the full story) Disregarding the question as to why the national media but not the local folks have picked up on such a marvelous, feel-good story for Browns fans, what struck me most is that this kid is and has been an incredible Browns fan. He grew up with Bernie and the boys and knows the heartbreaks like the rest of the fans. He's had them as well. But unlike most of us, he's in a position to do something about it. The article reminded me, in some ways, of a recent lengthy conversation I had with Mike Vrabel, another local boy whose done well in the NFL. Like Jurevicius, Vrabel talks fondly of his passion for the Browns. He can cite chapter and verse, from a fans perspective, about the Drive and the Fumble. The vagaries of the NFL collective bargaining agreement and free agency may conspire, as they usually do, to keep Vrabel from ever joining his hometown team, but I walked away with the sense that if he could he would. The point, though, is that ultimately it will be these kinds of tangibles that provide the best chance of returning the Browns to some sense of glory. Phil Savage is off to a good start with signings like Jurevicius, LaCharles Bentley and David Zastudil, not to mention the drafting of Charlie Frye and the recent signing of Josh Cribbs. For my money, you hire first based on passion and then teach them what they need to know. And on that measure, the Browns are much further ahead then at any point since they returned. If it gets us to 8-8 be happy as there are likely better days ahead.