News and views
News: Armonty Bryant reported to the Browns’ rookie camp the other day and displayed remorse after being busted recently for DUI at 4:30 in the morning in Ada, Okla.
Views: This young man should never have been allowed anywhere near Berea. He should have been cut by the team the moment word came down that he got behind the wheel of a ton and a half of destruction and drove it in an inebriated state.
The defensive end already had a red flag attached to his name in the recent college football draft because of a couple of drug busts in college, but the Browns decided to give him a second chance and grabbed him with one of their seventh-round choices.
Nothing wrong with that. Everyone deserves a second chance.
But then you remember what Bryant told the Cleveland media after his selection. “ ‘Good people make mistakes’ is something that I’ve always been told by my (college) coach,” he said. “I feel like it was just a stupid move on my part.
“I should have been more mature about the situation and more focused on football, which is something I really want to do with my life. Now that I’ve gotten a second chance, I feel like I won’t let anyone down, I won’t let myself down, the people around me or the Cleveland Browns.”
That conjured up an old expression: Say what you mean and mean what you say. Bryant did neither.
When that second chance is ignored as blatantly as Bryant ignored it, a third chance should never have even been considered.
First of all, what the hell was he doing out at 4:30 a.m.? That’s no time to be out on the road, unless you’re starting the day early, for anyone, let alone a football player who has already run afoul of the law once.
The damage control machine was immediately started up for Bryant, whose agent practically pleaded his client’s case to the Plain Dealer.
“He (Bryant) was distraught and felt he let a lot of people down, especially the Cleveland Browns,” Marc Lillibridge told the Pee Dee. “He was adamant about getting a hold of (Cleveland General Manager) Mike Lombardi and making sure the Browns heard it from him.”
Sounds more like Lillibridge was the adamant party and made his client make that call after chiding him.
Bryant, drafted because of his ability to rush the passer, might turn out to be nothing more than a spare part because the Browns have loaded up on players whose specialty is harassing opposing quarterbacks.
But that’s not the point here. It is obvious that Bryant has a tough time controlling himself off the field and is a magnet for trouble. If he knows the difference between right and wrong, he has shown incredibly poor judgment.
By not cutting him, the Browns are basically giving him a free pass. The club reportedly has a strong support system, but those systems have been known to fail.
Lillibridge, however, has assured the Browns that Bryant’s party days are over. “He’s not leaving the house,” he said.
Until, that is, he’s cut. That move should have been made after the DUI.
News: Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III is pedaling furiously as he tries to protect the good name and integrity of Pilot Flying J.
Views: Talk about your distractions and damage control.
Browns fans finally get an owner who cares about the product he owns and then that owner’s business world collapses all around him.
I don’t know exactly what’s going on in Haslam’s truck-stop world. Something to do with fraud and a federal investigation. All that is beyond my scope. All I know is that he is frantically trying to restore his company’s good name and it seems to be taking him away from the Browns.
That means he has to implicitly trust Browns CEO Joe Banner to run the day-to-day operation of the team while he tries to fend off, among others, the federal government. Right now, he’s much more concerned with his multi billion-dollar business than his billion-dollar professional football investment.
Trusting Banner, though, is a scary thought. The way he cavalierly handled the college draft sends a strong signal that things really haven’t changed at 76 Lou Groza Blvd.
The lifeblood of any NFL team is the draft. In the most recent draft, Banner applied a tourniquet to that blood flow with his relative non-participation.
Meanwhile, rumors swirl that Haslam’s fellow National Football League owners are not exactly thrilled with the negative attention he’s receiving. Talk – and that’s all it is . . . talk . . . at this time – around the NFL landscape suggests Haslam might be asked to give up the Browns.
That is more of a possibility than probability. Judging from his pro-active stance and the sincerity with which he is trying to resolve his huge problem, Haslam is still standing on firm ground with other league owners.
The guess here is they are waiting for everything to come down before making a snap judgment. That doesn’t mean Haslam is in the clear. Far from it. It’s entirely possible we might not see a resolution to his dilemma until well into the regular season, if not later. If at all. These things take time.
For the time being, Haslam is saying all the right things to Browns fans.
After apologizing a few days ago to the city of Cleveland, northeastern Ohio and Browns fans, he said, ”The last thing we ever wanted to do as a new owner was detract from football and the Browns and what a great football area this is. I so apologize for that. We feel badly about it and we’re very comfortable we’ll work through this situation.”
I don’t doubt his sincerity. Owning a professional football team has been a long-time dream for Haslam. To lose it because of questionable practices in another business would be the cruelest of blows.