Browns notebook: Move to Baltimore a bad memory
It’s a fading memory, a dispersing vapor, the move of the Browns to Baltimore.
At the time, it was a brick through the windshield. Some still choose to hear the glass shattering the week of the Baltimore-Cleveland game.
Joe Thomas, rookie left tackle for the new Browns, imagines what it must have been like when Art Modell announced halfway through the 1995 season he was uprooting that franchise that took seed in Cleveland in 1946.
“I actually do remember it,” Thomas said. “Even if I didn’t, I have plenty of Cleveland fans telling me how much they hate Baltimore.”
The last home game was a win over Cincinnati. Fans setting wooden seat ablaze passed for fireworks.
Thomas, a Packers fan, had turned 11 two weeks earlier. Plenty of people thought Modell’s move was like ripping Green Bay’s team out of Lambeau Field.
“When I think of it like that,” Thomas said, “it’s hard to believe it actually happened here.
“It was such a storied franchise with great backing. Usually, it’s a team where maybe they don’t have quite the fans, and the owner would leave if he’s not selling tickets.
“(Modell) was one of the few guys who actually went through with it after not getting his way. He actually moved the team.”
Modell, 82, is in his third season as a minority owner, having turned over control to Steve Biscotti in 2004.
The team is 93-86-1 in the 12 seasons since leaving Cleveland, including 2-1 this year. In the final 12 seasons as the Cleveland Browns, Modell’s team was 93-97.
It’s better than the expansion era, in which the Browns are 41-90.
Bricks through the windshield do leave a mark.
The Browns face injury issues, but so do the Ravens. Cornerback Samari Rolle is out because of a problem with a medication affecting his equilibrium.
His replacement is 5-foot-9 Corey Ivy, which could be a problem when he covers 6-foot-5 Joe Jurevicius.
The Ravens are expected to assign their top cornerback, Chris McAlister, to Braylon Edwards.
All-Pro left tackle Jonathan Ogden could miss a second straight game with a foot problem. His replacement, 6-8, 330-pound Adam Terry, has Ogden’s body type but not his ability to deal with athletic rushers such as Kamerion Wimbley.
Ravens quarterback Steve McNair has been slowed by a groin injury. Defensive end Trevor Pryce – 3 1/2 sacks against Cleveland in 2006 -- is out with a wrist injury.
‘K2’ still not OK
Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel continues to say the team is trying to get Kellen Winslow Jr. ready to play Sunday, but the tight end sat out another practice Thursday as his partially dislocated right shoulder heals.
Wideout Tim Carter (knee), defensive end Orpheus Roye (knee) and linebacker Antwan Peek (foot) likewise did not practice.
Dump on Cleveland
Old Cleveland Stadium was built on a landfill. Cleveland Browns Stadium was built on top of the old stadium’s remains. Ravens linebacker Bart Scott took it from there.
“It’s toxic, and I think it gets to some of the fans’ heads a little bit,” Scott was quoted as saying in the Baltimore Sun.
“Before I go out there and play on the field, I put some hydrocortisone on to make sure that I’ll be straight when I hit the ground.”
Lewis vs. Lewis
Jamal Lewis and Ray Lewis took turns doing conference calls with media covering their teams in the other city.
The Browns running back told Baltimore writers he thinks he has an edge over his old team because he knows the Ravens’ tendencies.
“If he touches the football,” Ray Lewis responded via the Baltimore Sun, “it’s going to be more than one person hitting him. Jamal knows there are no weaknesses.
“You can pretend there’s a weakness if you want to run at our corners and our secondary. ... So if there’s a weakness, tell him to come and find it.
“We’ll be waiting for him Sunday when we get there.”
- Wimbley said McNair is still hard to knock off his feet. “You’ll see guys hit him, and he’ll still get a pass off. You really have to wrap him up. It was the same thing with Daunte Culpepper at Oakland.”
- Taking away three spikes to stop the clock, Derek Anderson’s completion percentage at Oakland was 52.9 (18-of-34). His overall game was 50-50: Bad first half, good second half.
- Rich Gannon, who analyzed the Browns-Steelers game for CBS, will do so again for the Browns-Ravens telecast. Kevin Harlan will do play-by-play.
Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org