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The Eagles released Boniol, whose inconsistency on field-goal

Published: August 23, 1999 12:00 AM

The Eagles released Boniol, whose inconsistency on field-goal attempts from last year carried over to training camp, after signing veteran free agent Norm Johnson early last week.

Boniol was not in uniform for Saturday's game, but was scheduled to practice with the team today in Berea.

"Both Phil Dawson and Danny Kight struggled when they practiced here (Tuesday)," said Palmer. "The kicking game is a concern, so we brought in Boniol. Dawson didn't hurt himself, however, by making that long field goal."

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Kent State graduate Steve Zahursky got the start at right tackle in place of Orlando Brown, who was scratched with an injured elbow. Unfortunately, Minnesota defensive end Stalin Colinet promptly beat Zahursky on the second play of the game to sack Couch for a 10-yard loss.

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The Browns called the south sideline home at old Cleveland Stadium. The home sideline in the new stadium is the north, which should offer more shelter from the winds coming off Lake Erie.

Firsts at the new stadium:

First Brown introduced _ defensive end Roy Barker.

First coin flip _ tails, won by the Browns.

First kickoff _ put in play by Minnesota's Mitch Berger, fielded by Ronnie Powell and returned 22 yards to the Browns' 31.

First pass _ by Tim Couch, incomplete, intended for Kevin Johnson.

First sack _ Stalin Colinet sacks Couch, second play of the game (also the first tackle in the new stadium).

First punt _ Chris Gardocki, 50-yard punt with 14 minutes to play in the first quarter

First touchdown _ old friend Leroy Hoard of Minnesota on a 6-yard run with 10:27 left in the first.

First Browns first down _ 9:35 in the first quarter on a 13-yard pass by Couch to Leslie Shepherd.

First Browns touchdown _ 8-yard pass by Ty Detmer to Damon Gibson with 1:09 left in the first half (also the first official ruling using instant replay).

Governor Taft, a visitor at Saturday's game, called the new stadium a tribute to Browns fans.

"This is a real credit to the fans because it wouldn't have happened if they didn't have the intensity and enthusiasm for the Browns," said Taft. "This is part of the rebirth of the city which began about 10 years ago. It's the culmination of that rebirth."

Side judge Ron Liebsack suffered a broken left fibula and a sprained left knee midway through the second quarter while in the process of calling a holding penalty on Ross. The penalty negated a touchdown reception by the Browns' Terry Kirby.

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