Browns, Cowboys swap receivers near deadline

Antonio Bryant was traded from the Dallas Cowboys to the Cleveland Browns yesterday for Quincy Morgan.

The deal will give the two receivers, both former second-round picks who have shown flashes of being NFL stars, fresh starts.

Bryant landed in coach Bill Parcells’ doghouse during a workout in June, when he threw a sweaty jersey at Parcells’ face because he was upset about his status behind Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. Bryant was removed by security from the practice and didn’t rejoin the team until training camp.

He has 16 catches for 266 yards this season, and had just one for 22 yards in a loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday.

Bryant caught 44 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns and started 15 games as a rookie in 2002, before Parcells arrived. Last season, Bryant had 39 catches for 559 yards and two TDs while starting five games.

“We have the opportunity to gain a receiver who has big-time play potential and will be with the Browns for the next two years,” Browns coach Butch Davis said. “Our coaches and many members of our staff have known Antonio for a long time, and he has always impressed us with his dedicated work ethic and his consistent ability to create big plays on the field.”

Morgan caught three touchdown passes this season from Jeff Garcia, but was disappointed with his reduced role over the last 1 1/2 seasons. He complained last week that he wasn’t getting the ball enough, arguing that he couldn’t be productive if he didn’t get any opportunities.

However, the biggest reason for a drop-off in Morgan’s statistics may have been that Garcia, in his first season with Cleveland, and the coaching staff had lost confidence in him.

Aside from an occasional dropped pass, Morgan does have the knack for making big plays. He had a touchdown catch of over 70 yards in each of the last three seasons — the only receiver in the NFL to do so.

Morgan had 38 catches for 516 yards and three TDs last season. A year earlier, the former Kansas State star had 56 receptions for 964 yards and seven TDs.