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Policy steps down as Browns' top exec

By Wire services
Published April 8, 2004

BEREA, Ohio - Carmen Policy has decided to let someone else run the Cleveland Browns.

Policy will step down after five years as the club's president and chief executive officer on May 1 but will stay on as a consultant through the 2004 season.

John Collins, currently the NFL's senior vice president of marketing and sales, will replace Policy as the Browns' top executive.

"That means that I will have a business card, I will have a relationship with the Browns," Policy said at a news conference to announce the abrupt change. "That means I will get paid and that means I really won't have to work that hard."

Policy was handpicked by late Browns owner Al Lerner when Cleveland returned to the league as an expansion franchise in 1999 after a three-year absence.

Policy will serve as an executive adviser this year while helping owner Randy Lerner take a larger role in running the team.

After helping build the San Francisco 49ers into a power in the 1980s and '90s, Policy has been unable to turn the Browns into consistent winners.

His five-year tenure in Cleveland has been marked by losing records and some turmoil. The Browns are 26-53 since returning to the NFL, including a playoff loss to Pittsburgh in 2001.

Policy fired coach Chris Palmer after a 3-13 season in 2000, replacing him with Butch Davis. Policy then was unable to stop Dwight Clark, his close friend who had followed him from San Francisco, from resigning in 2002 as the club's director of football operations after a power struggle with Davis.

In other Browns news, quarterback Tim Couch would like to play for Green Bay if he gets the chance. With the Packers shopping for a possible heir to Brett Favre, Couch had permission from the Browns to meet with Packers coaches and staff Tuesday night and Wednesday. The Browns signed former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia this spring.

GIANTS: Veteran tackle Norman Hand was signed to a two-year, $2-million contract in another move to shore up the defensive line. The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder played six games for Seattle last season before tearing a muscle in his right arm.

Hand is the fourth free-agent defensive lineman signed by the Giants. He joins tackles Fred Robbins and Martin Chase and end Lorenzo Bromell.

RAIDERS: Free-agent wide receiver Chris Cole was signed. He has played 35 games over the past three seasons with the Broncos as a returner and receiver.

RAVENS: A month after arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, quarterback Kyle Boller pronounced his arm solid. He has resumed throwing at the training facility.

NO. 1 UP FOR BIDS?: If early indications are reliable, there's a good chance the first pick in the draft will not be made by San Diego. Word is that three teams already have made contact with the Chargers regarding a deal for the No. 1 overall pick.

Whether those teams make serious offers as the draft approaches remains to be seen, but the fact multiple teams are interested might mean that trade talks could build steam quickly in the coming weeks.

Given that the Chargers have multiple holes, a trade down makes sense. Their most likely trading partner is the Giants, a team pining for Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning.

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith confirmed he got a call from Giants GM Ernie Accorsi. Smith wouldn't discuss specifics.

[Last modified April 8, 2004, 01:35:43]


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