Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

He didn't really have a motorcycle accident, did he?

I am an Indians fan and a Cavs fan but, my heart has always belonged to the Browns. Brian Sipe was my first hero. I knew all the names and numbers of the Kardiac Kids. Still in grade school, after reading that University of Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar was a Browns fan, I prayed that he find a way to Cleveland. A loophole was found in something called a supplemental draft and I was positive he would take us to a Super Bowl.
My faith was tested when they fled town. Single digits still mysteriously fly into the air whenever he-who-cannot-be-named's face appears on television. I was never a fan of Carmen Policy, but I bought into Butch Davis hook, line and sinker.
But last season, I stopped watching and before it got ugly. The Browns were just 3-3 when I went cold turkey. The reason was Jeff Garcia. I couldn't stand him. I despised how he talked about his teammates in the paper. I didn't like his style of play and was not a fan of his police reports in California or night club reports here after recently being convicted of a drinking and driving charge. I just got to the point where I said to myself, I can't cheer for this guy regardless the color of his uniform.
The next week, he had his best game as a Brown but I could care less. I didn't watch again until he was out of the line-up.
At the end of the season, I started to watch again, but it was more like the jilted boyfriend trying to be "friends" with the ex.
But as I told my friend Tommy Mac this weekend, they were making me believe again. Sure, originally, I wanted no part of Phil Savage as general manager. But only for stupid reasons. After the Browns left town, I even started to dislike Cal Ripken Jr. just because he was from Baltimore. I am not proud of it, but I am a Baltimore bigot and Pittspukeaphobe. We all have our sins and those are mine.
But I liked Savage's off season. I didn't want to lose Courtney Brown, but he plugged some holes on the O-line and on the defense. He picked up offensive weapons through the draft and free agency.
As hard as I fought it, optimism set in. I was excited. The Cavs faded, the Indians struggled and just like old times, it was springtime and all I could think about was the Browns. Can you say mini-camp?
But as the old Cavs commerical told us, this is Cleveland. If you are a die-hard, you know exactly what I am talking about.
First, there was the news that Reuben Droughns won't work out in Cleveland until he gets a new contract. We trade two linemen for him and before he can break his first sweat at a practice, he goes home. Jim Brown said all that needed to be said on that matter. Dude, if you are an NFL running back, it is best to listen to Jim Brown.
Disturbing news, but there was the carrot that maybe William Green would finally repair his personal life and become the back he seemed destined to become at one time.
Then this week came the news about Kellen Winslow Jr's motorcycle accident. Do you know it took place right here on the Westshore in Westlake at a site I pass almost every day. You hope he is alright, but it doesn't look good.
And you wonder, will we ever get a break? Ever?
The sports page was done and ready to be proofed and sent out. I had entirely different column written and ready for print, and here I am in the wee hours of the night writing about a motorcycle accident.
And the thing is, people will write about how stupid Winslow was, but he wasn't even being that dangerous. He wasn't on the highway racing. He wasn't drinking. He was in a freaking parking lot trying to learn how to drive a motorcycle.
A community college parking lot is where we may lose our franchise player for maybe a year or even forever. Sure, he could be right back. But as Browns fans it isn't easy to see the cup as half full, is it?
When I read the rumors, I figured it was a hoax. But there in my e-mail was an official statement from the Browns and there on was Westlake's own Lt. Ray Arcuri being quoted. I have meet Arcuri and he is great guy. But whenever he is in Browns story, it is never good news.
Were the Browns going to win the Super Bowl this year? No, but will it really be never? I am sure Savage and Crennel are very confident of their abilities, as each has tasted success and have Super Bowl rings to prove it. Both have worked for the Browns before. They have seen the passion of the town for the team, but they have to be thinking "What in the name of Paul Brown is going on?"
I am sure they will not shrink from the plan. But since 1964, it has always been next year. Jim Chones' ankle. Red Right 88. The Drive. The Fumble. The Shot. Rick Mahorn's elbow to Mark Price's head. Jim Poole. Joe Table. The second half collapse in Pittspuke. A little exhausting, don’t you think?
Now this year, even with the Chosen One, the Cavs could not shoot beyond the arch or play enough defense to get in the playoffs. The Indians can't hit or catch. And the Browns can't drive in a parking lot?
Maybe next week, things will look up. Hafner and Martinez will start bashing. Phil Jackson will confound the pundits and move to the North Coast. Winslow Jr. will take an advil, hire a personal driver and be in the line-up for game one.
But tonight, I will be at Merry Arts, the oldest bar in Lakewood, drinking dollar drafts during the Tribe game complaining to Nicole the bartender about living in the longest suffering sports town in America.
I figure by the seventh inning stretch I should be optimistic again.