Browns notebook: Ohio's Clements on outside looking in
Not that he needs the money, but Nate Clements has never worked overtime.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound cornerback’s job always has been done when the postseason begins.
He sounds a bit rueful about six seasons outside the playoffs with Buffalo and this one with the 49ers (5-10). Then again, he could have been a Brown, playing against rather than for San Francisco on Sunday.
Clements said he considered the Browns, Buccaneers and Cardinals at the start of free agency. He agreed to terms with San Francisco faster than the giant ball drops on New Year’s Eve as the 49ers made him the highest-paid player in NFL history with an eight-year, $80 million contract.
Clements played high school football at Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb. He rode out the latter days of the John Cooper era at Ohio State.
Buffalo made him the 21st pick of the 2001 draft. He started 91 games for the Bills and reached free agency at the top of his game — still fairly young, offering the skill, frame and experience that widens scouts’ eyes.
He was old enough when he signed to realize this was his day at the bank.
Cleveland wasn’t offering nearly as much. It didn’t matter that Clements grew up a Browns fan, turning 7 the week cornerbacks Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon beat the Bills during a December run to the 1986 playoffs.
“I was a Browns fan then,” he said, “but as I got older, most of the guys that play for them now ... I played with them or against them.”
Clements can make the Browns hurt a little bit if, say, he takes Braylon Edwards out of his game. It won’t necessarily be an impassioned one-on-one. They were at Ohio State and Michigan at different times.
The Browns, however, have a shot at whatever priceless satisfaction exists in having a relevant team. Win or lose Sunday, they can make the playoffs.
“It definitely can get frustrating,” Clements said, “but you have to remain focused. Hard work will always pay off.”
The Browns have been facing replacement quarterbacks all year. This time, it’s Shaun Hill, though it could be 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke if Hill’s back spasms are bothering him Sunday.
Hill, 2-0 as a starter, is telling California media he hopes to play, something Trent Dilfer (concussion) and opening day starter Alex Smith can’t do.
Quarterbacks who were not opening-day starters but have faced the Browns include Cleo Lemon, Kyle Boller, Kurt Warner, Kellen Clemens and Trent Edwards.
Here we go Indy …
Browns fans pulling for the Colts to beat Tennessee are worried about starters being lifted before halftime. It should be noted Indianapolis has averaged almost 16 points in the first two quarters. Tennessee has failed to score as many as 16 points in six games.
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy keeps saying his team will try hard to win. QB Peyton Manning’s playing shift could be tied to wideout Marvin Harrison returning from a nine-week injury absence so the pair can get in sync for the playoffs. However, the Indianapolis Star reported that Harrison is unlikely to play.
The third man
Extending No. 3 quarterback Ken Dorsey’s contract makes sense on multiple levels.
He’s a brilliant football mind without an ego. He’s ideal for helping young quarterbacks with more talent do what must be done on game days.
If the Browns get a trade offer they can’t refuse for Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn, they’d have a backup in Dorsey with experience.
“He helps in the meeting room,” Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel said. “He helps at practice, giving us the looks that we need.
“His understanding of the system, what opponents are trying to do ... all of that is helpful.”
- Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher won’t feel sorry for the Browns if the Colts pull their starters and lose. “We all control our own destiny,” Fisher said Wednesday. “Cleveland would have been sitting pretty good had they won (Sunday in Cincinnati). They can’t place any blame or any hope based on what their opponent is going to do.”
- Running back Chris Barclay, who won a preseason game for the Browns with a kick return, spent most of the year on Cleveland’s practice squad before the Titans gave him a regular roster spot. Released by Tennessee last weekend, Barclay was snapped up by the Saints,
Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail email@example.com