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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Davis not finished putting his mark on Browns

BEREA, Ohio – Tim Couch spotted a wide-open target and the Cleveland Browns’ third-year quarterback was savvy enough to go right after it.

Actually, all Couch did was move some of his belongings a few feet to his right and into the vacated locker of former teammate Ty Detmer, who was traded to Detroit on Sunday.

“I couldn’t let anybody move into Ty’s locker so I had to take over,” Couch said.

Couch isn’t the only Browns player enjoying extra space to get dressed this week as coach Butch Davis continues his dramatic overhaul of Cleveland’s 53-man roster.

The way players are coming and going, the Browns may want to install a revolving door at the locker room entrance.

Davis gave his players the day off Tuesday, but he was busy formulating a game plan for his debut against Seattle on Sunday and surveying the waiver wire, acquiring defensive lineman Greg Spires from New England and releasing defensive lineman Cecil Caldwell.

Spires, a four-year NFL veteran, had 17 tackles with the Patriots last year. Caldwell was signed in April as a free agent out of South Carolina.

Davis said there’s still a possibility that offensive tackle Tony Jones could be re-signed. Jones retired on July 28 following one day of practice but is considering a comeback.

Another round of drastic cuts and moves on Monday left the Browns with 23 new faces from last year’s team.

Only four offensive starters are still around from last season’s opening-weekend lineup, and just two from the 11 who started the 1999 opener against Pittsburgh.

“Welcome to the NFL,” linebacker Jamir Miller said. “That’s the way it is. You live with it.”

As wide receiver Kevin Johnson has learned, life in pro football includes living with trade rumors, too.

Last week, Johnson found out that his name had come up in trade discussions between the Browns and New Orleans Saints.

Johnson said he wasn’t surprised because he’s been hearing trade whispers since the off-season when he was reportedly on his way to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“When you get a whole new coaching staff, everyone is on the trading block,” Johnson said. “He wants to bring in his guys. I talked to him about and if that would happen, I guess he thinks it’s what’s best for the team.

“But he assured me that I belong here, and he said I’m a big part of what they want to do.”

For now, Johnson is on the roster and will likely start in Sunday’s opener.

But the fact that Davis would consider trading Johnson, who has caught 123 passes for 1,655 yards in his first two seasons and is the club’s best offensive threat, shows just how seriously the rookie coach is about making the Browns into a winner.

“I told Kevin he’s a very positive member of this team,” Davis said. “He’s practicing well, playing good. Right now, we’re happy Kevin’s on the team and he’s a big part of it.”

But with the way Davis has been wheeling and dealing lately, none of the Browns, perhaps except for Couch, can feel to secure.

“We only won five games in two years so something’s got to change,” cornerback Corey Fuller said. “Like (Minnesota’s) Cris Carter told me, ‘Fuller, you’ve got a plan and they got a plan, you just got to hope you’re in their plan.’ That’s all you can do. There ain’t nothing else.”

Johnson said it’s senseless to worry about what he can’t control. He’s confident in his skills, and as long as he makes plays, Johnson doesn’t think he’ll be going anywhere.

“I think I’ve shown I can play in this league,” he said. “Obviously, I’d love to stay with the Cleveland Browns.”

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