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Browns could still be suitors for Jimmy Garoppolo after Brock Osweiler trade 03.09.17 at 4:24 pm ET
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Brock Osweiler signed a $72 million contract with the Texans last year. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Brock Osweiler signed a $72 million contract with the Texans last year. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Browns have traded for a quarterback, but it might not take them out of the running for Jimmy Garoppolo.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns have acquired Brock Osweiler, a 2018 second-round pick and 2017 sixth-round selection from the Texans in exchange for a fourth-rounder this year. Cleveland, which had over $100 million in cap space entering free agency, will take on the entirety of Osweiler’s contract.

Osweiler, 26, was abysmal in Houston last season, completing only 59 percent of his passes and posting a QB rating of 72.2.

With those numbers in mind, it’s apparent the Browns aren’t counting on him to be their next franchise quarterback –– or even start next season. Schefter reports Cleveland will likely try to trade Osweiler, though it remains uncertain how many suitors they’ll be for his services. With the Bears signing Mike Glennon and the 49ers bringing Brian Hoyer aboard, it looks like Osweiler’s market will be limited.

Given the Browns’ plethora of cap space, they could be willing to pay Osweiler his full $16 million salary this season and then cut bait with him next year, or cut him now.

Essentially, they’ve bought Houston’s 2018 second-round pick, which is a strategy teams often employ in the NBA.

Throughout the last several months, the Browns have been viewed as a likely destination for Garoppolo. That still doesn’t change, despite Osweiler’s presence. It seems like he was acquired just so Cleveland could secure another draft pick. The Browns are still apparently looking for a quarterback, and Garoppolo remains one of the most enticing options out there. That is, if the Patriots make him available.

Read More: Brock Osweiler, Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick sings praises of Mike Lombardi as ‘one of the smartest people I know’ 11.02.16 at 10:08 am ET
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Mike Lombardi. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Mike Lombardi. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Of all the opinions expressed on the Jamie Collins trade, the one held by Mike Lombardi has generated the most intrigue as to why the Patriots shipped the linebacker off to Cleveland.

On Monday, shortly after the trade to the Browns was made, Lombardi, a close confidant to Bill Belichick, took to social media to explain why he was not surprised by the trade.

On Tuesday, Lombardi appeared on Kirk and Callahan to defend his support of the trade and explain his criticism of the way Collins was playing and why he no longer was a fit in the Patriots’ system.

On Wednesday, Belichick held his first press conference since the trade and directed most questions to the Dale and Holley transcript on WEEI, when he appeared Monday afternoon on the show.

Belichick was asked specifically about Lombardi, who worked with Belichick in 2014 and ’15 before leaving for Fox Sports this year. But Belichick’s relationship with and respect for Lombardi goes well beyond those two seasons. He was on the Belichick staff in Cleveland for all five seasons (1991-95) and actually was there four years before Belichick arrived.

Lombardi remains one Belichick’s most trusted sources and advisors on all football personnel matters, as Belichick believes in his ability to quickly break down film and make informed opinions. What does Belichick think of Lombardi’s opinions on Collins?

“Look, Mike’s one of the smartest people I know,” Belichick said. “He’s one of the smartest people I’ve worked with. He was a huge asset to me for the two years he was here. Mike’s a smart guy and he studies football and he knows it very well. I would say probably on all teams.”

“So, you [go] talk to Mike,” Belichick said. “You should ask Mike about whatever Mike said. I’m sure everybody had something to say. Go talk to them. I don’t know.

“I expressed my feelings. I think other coaches have expressed their feelings and I’m sure there are a lot of other people who’ve got an opinion. Want to talk to them, go talk to them. I don’t care.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns, Jamie Collins, Mike Lombardi
Bill Belichick recalls Sunday’s trip to Jim Brown statue, explains why he’s ‘greatest player that ever played’ 10.10.16 at 7:54 pm ET
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Oct 2, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA;  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during the second half of the Buffalo Bills 16-0 win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick took time to pay homage to Jim Brown and Paul Brown Monday. (Winslow Townson-USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick has a long-held admiration for two Browns. One is the namesake for Cleveland’s NFL franchise. The other is still considered by many the greatest running back in NFL history.

Shortly after his Patriots disposed of the Browns 33-13 in Cleveland, he took his players on a short field trip outside FirstEnergy Stadium. Belichick wanted the team to visit the Jim Brown statue outside and explain to many of the younger players the significance of the trip.

“I think honestly any person, football player or otherwise, can learn a lot from Jim Brown and what he represents and what he stands for,” Belichick explained Monday. “But particularly as it relates to our football team, Jim Brown’s in my opinion the greatest player that ever played. I’ve had an opportunity to have known him Jim for over 20 years now.

“I met him when I was the coach at the Browns and just had so much more respect and appreciation for him knowing him well as a person and as a friend, even just as an observer from a distance, but I think he’s meant so much to this game.”

Statistically, Brown needed only nine years in the NFL (before leaving for a movie career) to become the NFL record holder for both single-season (1,863 in 1963) and career rushing (12,312 yards), as well as the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and all-purpose yards (15,549). But above the stats, Belichick has always been impressed with Brown, the man.

“He’s paved the way for all of us; players and coaches,” Belichick said. “[He’s] part of many people who have made professional football, the game of football, the great game that it is. I just felt like it was an opportunity for us as a team after the game to recognize and pay a tribute to Jim and all that he stands for, both in and out of football. But in particular, what he has meant to the game of football and how much he has done for us, for the game, which means for all of us.”

It was Jim Brown whom Belichick sought out for advice when he was in Cleveland as head coach from 1991-95. Belichick knew what he meant to the franchise and was immediately impressed with not just his football knowledge but the words of wisdom he gave him about handling people in and around Art Modell.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Jim Brown
Rob Ninkovich happy to be away from diapers at home, helps Pats D dispose of Browns 10.09.16 at 7:48 pm ET
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Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 7.47.41 PM

Rob Ninkovich speaks to reporters after Sunday’s game in Cleveland. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

CLEVELAND — Tom Brady wasn’t the only one relieved to be back on the field Sunday.

After serving his four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance and coming back from a triceps injury, Rob Ninkovich was back on the field with one tackle and a near-interception in a 33-13 win.

“I missed it a lot. I was ready to stop changing diapers and get back to football,” Ninkovich said. “My wife put me to work there. Just really happy to be back, happy to just come into work and just practice, little things that you miss out on. Super-pumped to back and look forward to this coming week.”

As for the contact itself on the field?

“It felt good. I hadn’t tackled anyone since the AFC Championship Game so it felt good and my arm feels good,” Ninkovich said. “I really worked hard this week and tried to get as many reps in as possible, even on scout team to try and get the football feeling back.”

Ninkovich had just one tackle but was part of a Patriots defense that limited the NFL’s best rushing attack to just 27 yards on 22 carries.

“You have to give credit to them,” Ninkovich said of the Browns rushing attack that was averaging 150 yards a game over the first four weeks. “They have done a great job running the ball this year. They really run hard and do a good job in the rushing attack.”

The Patriots forced a three-and-out on the first series of the game, setting the tempo and giving Tom Brady the ball just two minutes into the game.

“You have to start fast in this game,” Ninkovich said. “There are a lot of great football players out there, and we knew they have a good football team so we prepared well and executed today.”

Read More: Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Rob Ninkovich,
Julian Edelman gets his best buddy back: ‘It’s Tom Brady. You don’t expect anything less’ at 7:22 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Julian Edelman was a happy guy Sunday. The Patriots wide receiver had his quarterback back throwing him the football. No offense to Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett, but Edelman might have been the happiest to see Tom Brady back on the field.

Edelman caught five passes for 35 yards, and was targeted a team-high 10 times by Brady in a 33-13 win over the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. It all started on Brady’s very first play from a scrimmage, a 10-yard out to the right sideline for a first down.

From then on, Brady seemed in a rhythm. And it was Edelman who kick-started things.

“We had a lot of fun,” Edelman said. “We tried to go out and get a good team win like we did against a conference team on the road. It’s a good win.”

What was it like catching passes from No. 12 again?

“You play with a guy for a long time and you build a friendship,” Edelman said. “You get excited for guys who haven’t been around for a while.”

Brady found five different receivers in the opening quarter and seven for the game. Edelman wasn’t surprised Brady got things going so quickly.

“He knows the system. I mean, it’s Tom Brady so you don’t expect anything less,” Edelman said.

Edelman played college football in Northeast Ohio at Kent State. He was very aware of the significance of having thousands of Patriots fans attend the game in Cleveland to support Brady.

“It was awesome. I played football here in Northeast Ohio, and they’re very passionate about their team,” Edelman said. “To see a lot of Patriots fans out here tells you something.”

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Julian Edelman, Kent State, New England Patriots
Tom Brady pretty humble after his big return: ‘There was plenty of rust out there’ at 6:11 pm ET
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Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and tight end Martellus Bennett (88) celebrate a touchdown during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady (left) had plenty to celebrate with Martellus Bennett Sunday. (Ken Blaze-USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — To the naked eye, Tom Brady didn’t seem to show any rust Sunday.

But even after throwing three touchdowns and passing for 406 yards in a 33-13 cruise-control win over the Browns, the quarterback said there was lots for him to improve upon after making his return from a four-game suspension Sunday.

“I think there was plenty of rust out there,” Brady said. “I can do better in a lot of areas.”

Brady came out blazing, completing 14 of his first 16 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, building a 23-7 halftime lead.

“I thought the team played really well,” Brady said. “It was fun to be a part of it. It’s been a fun week to get ready to play and be back doing what I love to do. Just proud of the way our guys played, our line played great. We tried to hit some plays down the field.”

Brady also spread the wealth Sunday, distributing passes to seven different receivers, led by six catches by Martellus Bennett and five apiece from Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Chris Hogan caught four passes for a team-leading 114 yards.

“Hoes, Martellus, Jules, Gronk all made plays,” Brady said. “I was just trying to focus on what my job is and what I have to do. It felt very much like a normal week for me once I got into it so it was fun to come out and play, fun to win.”

Overall, Brady left FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday feeling pretty good about himself and the team.

“4-1 is a pretty good place to be right now,” Brady said. “We have a long road ahead so we have to stay focused.”

Read More: Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,
Mike Petraglia recaps Tom Brady’s epic return to the NFL stage in win over Browns at 5:34 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Tom Brady had his eighth career 400-yard passing game and three touchdowns to Martellus Bennett. Life is good once again for the Patriots after a 33-13 victory. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia has the recap from Cleveland.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Martellus Bennett, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots

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