Plenty to pick from for Browns

By Tom Withers Associated Press Published:

CLEVELAND - The list of potential Browns includes eight Pro Bowlers, nine former first-round draft picks and at least one future Hall of Famer. Cleveland received a list of 130 players Friday from the NFL that the Browns can select from for next month's expansion draft. So Carmen Policy, after reviewing the names, who do you like? "There appeared to be some players on that list that could come in and start for the Cleveland Browns," the Browns president said. Could you be more specific? "I promised on the life of my first born that I wouldn't say a word about anybody on the list," Policy said of the pledge he made to Dwight Clark, Cleveland's director of football operations. Earlier this week the 26 teams not currently playing football were required to submit their lists of the five players they would make available to the Browns for the Feb. 9 expansion draft in Canton. The four teams involved in this weekend's conference championship games will file their lists once their seasons are completed. Some of the names began trickling out before Friday when the league released its official list. Among the notable names: Chicago linebacker Andre Collins; Cincinnati linebacker James Francis; Dallas fullback Daryl Johnston; Green Bay wide receiver Robert Brooks, kick returner Roell Preston, and defensive tackle Reggie White, who is planning to retire; Kansas City offensive tackle Jeff Criswell; New England running back Sedrick Shaw; New Orleans QB Heath Shuler and wideout Qadry Ismail; Oakland wide receiver Desmond Howard; Philadelphia wide receiver Jeff Graham; St. Louis center John Flannery; Seattle center Kevin Glover; Tampa Bay defensive tackle Marcus Jones; and Washington running back Terry Allen, quarterback Gus Frerotte and defensive back Cris Dishman, all former Pro Bowlers. The list also includes several former Browns, including Baltimore wide receiver Michael Jackson, defensive back Stevon Moore, San Francisco defensive back Antonio Langham, center Randy Kirk, and San Diego tight end Frank Hartley. Clark, who was in California for the East-West Shrine Bowl, said in a statement the Browns would not comment on any of the players "until we have an opportunity to properly and extensively evaluate them." The new Browns, who have already signed 14 free agents, can select 30-42 players in the expansion draft, and under provisions set up by the league, Cleveland must use up 38 percent of its projected $60 million salary cap on such players. Once the Browns select a player, a team can pull back one of its unprotected players. And after a second player is picked, a team can pull back both of its remaining players. The Browns inherit the salary of any draftee, making the size of his contract as important as his ability or stature. Policy said who the Browns take in the expansion draft would have little bearing on their selections in the early rounds of April's college draft. "It might come in and start affecting picks four and later," he said.

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