Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The first play of the first scrimmage made it funnier

The first play of the first full team scrimmage. Adding that for safety reasons no one was wearing pads, it makes what happened even more beautiful.

Of course I mean beautiful in a really sick and twisted obscene way.

We have no choice but to laugh.

When I heard LeCharles Bentley was injured, I knew he was out for the season before I had any more details. I didn't get upset. I didn't say woe is us. I just went on with my day. It seemed a natural and logical natural order of things. It was as if I wasn't surprised at all.

And why should I be? We all know the score. We all know the story. Any of you could write this as well. I am tired of complaining. I am tired of getting frustrated and upset.

God hates the Browns and he loves Pittsburgh. So what? Let's move on.

One has to believe that the Browns players have often had the same thoughts that the fans continually get criticized for from out of town carpet-bagging sportswriters and team officials. But until recently, they at least kept it to themselves.

"To a certain extent, I do believe in a jinx or curse," Browns cornerback Gary Baxter was quoted saying. "I'd never been hurt and then I come here and get hurt. Then LeCharles goes down. But I'm a superstitious guy."

If Browns general manager Phil Savage owns a ouiji board or a rabbit's foot, he is keeping it to himself.

"If this organization really believes that there's some validity to [a jinx], then we're all wasting our time," Savage was quoted as saying. "We have the mind-set that we're still going to do some great things this year."

God bless the heart of a true believer of self-destiny. Savage even attempted to spin the coincidence of the team's biggest off-season additions of the last three years getting hurt to being something good.

"You go back to Kellen's motorcycle wreck, you have Braylon's situation [injured knee] last year during the season, and now this," Savage said. "But in an odd sort of way, I think it can make us stronger."

I respect Savage's resolve. He can't admit the fight is fixed. He has to believe that he can win in this town. Savage, thanks in a large part to the fans, survived a mutiny from the suits at the end of last season. The fact that the football man won out is a positive and Savage had a great off-season. He brought in talented football players to strengthen the talent of the team. As I have written before, to bring in so many local guys who understand what football means to this town is an added bonus.

But hometown pride only takes you so far. As a kid I loved Bernie Kosar, the fact that he loved Brian Sipe made me cherish him even more.

But the fate of this team for this season now rests in the hands of a second-year quarterback from Akron University and a journey man center from Kent State.

So I am not supposed to believe in curses, but you want me to buy into fairy tales?

I understand that injuries happen and good teams have to overcome them. And if an injury is to occur, let it be play one in July rather than play one in September. We can play the put-the-best-construction-on-everything game all we want, but Bentley was brought here to give Charlie Frye and our running backs a fighting chance. And now that won't happen.

Maybe Savage will be right. Bentley figured to be the leader of this team and now he is done for the season. Maybe it will bring a resolve and determination from the rest of the team to step up and make a difference.

It can't get any worse. Can it?