NA­TIONAL FOOT­BALL LEAGUE NOTES

The Day - - SUMMARY -

Browns re­lease CB Joe Haden af­ter 7 sea­sons

Too ex­pen­sive and too-of­ten in­jured, Joe Haden is no longer part of Cleve­land's long-term plans. The two-time Pro Bowl cor­ner­back, who had gone from be­ing one of the city's most pop­u­lar play­ers to po­lar­iz­ing, was re­leased Wed­nes­day af­ter the team couldn't trade him or per­suade him to take a pay cut. "We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this or­ga­ni­za­tion both on and off the field," said Sashi Brown, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions. "He has been a great team­mate and a true as­set to the Cleve­land com­mu­nity. These are very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions, we have the ut­most re­spect for Joe and in my eyes, he will al­ways be a Cleve­land Brown." A first-round pick in 2010, Haden has been slowed by in­juries the past two sea­sons and the Browns felt he was no longer one of their top de­fen­sive backs. Cleve­land, which is in need of a wide re­ceiver, had shopped Haden but couldn't find a part­ner, mostly be­cause he'll make $11.1 mil­lion this sea­son and has two more sea­sons left on a five-year, $67.5 mil­lion ex­ten­sion — $45 mil­lion guar­an­teed — he signed in 2014. De­spite Haden's slip in pro­duc­tion, coach Hue Jack­son said Tuesday that he felt Haden had played well this sum­mer. Not well enough to keep him around, how­ever. "Joe gave ev­ery­thing he had for the Cleve­land Browns and that's all you can ask for as a coach," Jack­son said in a state­ment. "He was a leader on and off the field. I wish him all the best as he con­tin­ues his ca­reer." Haden played in just 18 games — he missed 11 in 2015 with a con­cus­sion — the past two sea­sons be­cause of in­juries, fight­ing to stay on the field each week last sea­son de­spite a se­ri­ous groin in­jury that re­quired off­sea­son surgery. New de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Gregg Wil­liams and his staff didn't view Haden as an as­set and will likely move vet­eran Ja­son McCourty into his start­ing spot along­side Ja­mar Tay­lor. A for­mer Florida stand­out, Haden was one of Cleve­land's most vis­i­ble play­ers. He of­ten at­tended Cava­liers games and sat court­side to cheer on LeBron James and his team­mates. Haden owned a sneaker store in down­town Cleve­land, hosted youth camps in North­east Ohio and in 2015 be­came the first pro­fes­sional foot­ball player to serve as a Spe­cial Olympics global am­bas­sador. Haden posted a thank-you to Cleve­land fans on his In­sta­gram ac­count. "I would first like to take the time to thank the Browns fans all around the world from the bot­tom of my heart for mak­ing Cleve­land a happy home for me for the past 7 years," Haden wrote. "I also want to thank the coaches, the or­ga­ni­za­tion and es­pe­cially my team­mates who have be­come fam­ily. My God doesn't make mis­takes and I know the fu­ture is bright." Haden ap­peared in 90 games for the Browns, start­ing 81. He com­piled 376 tack­les, 101 passes de­fensed, 19 in­ter­cep­tions, forced four fum­bles and four re­cov­ered fum­bles. Last sea­son, he recorded 48 tack­les, 11 passes de­fensed and tied for a team-high three in­ter­cep­tions. The Browns made their fi­nal move with of­fen­sive line­man Cam Erv­ing, an­other of the team's first-round busts. Erv­ing, who was shifted from guard to cen­ter to tackle dur­ing two sea­sons with Cleve­land, was traded Wed­nes­day to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick. It ends a dis­ap­point­ing stay in Cleve­land for the No. 19 over­all pick in 2015. Erv­ing's ver­sa­til­ity had at­tracted him to the Browns, who were con­vinced the for­mer Florida State stand­out could be a build­ing block in their turn­around. How­ever, Erv­ing strug­gled wher­ever the Browns put him and the team de­cided to cut ties with their sec­ond first-round pick in hours. Since 2011, seven play­ers drafted by the Browns in the first round are no longer with the team. Erv­ing joins an in­glo­ri­ous list in­cludes Johnny Manziel, Trent Richard­son, Bran­don Wee­den and Barke­vi­ous Mingo.

El­liott ap­peal over do­mes­tic case headed for 2nd day

Dal­las run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott's ap­peal of his six-game sus­pen­sion for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is headed for a sec­ond day with no time­line for com­ple­tion of the hear­ing. The ap­peal be­fore ar­bi­tra­tor Harold Hen­der­son is held at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion. The NFL sus­pended its 2016 rush­ing leader af­ter con­clud­ing he was phys­i­cally abu­sive to­ward his then-girl­friend in Ohio last sum­mer. Pros­e­cu­tors de­clined to pur­sue the case. The league's let­ter de­tail­ing the sus­pen­sion also noted video of El­liott pulling down a woman's shirt and ex­pos­ing her breast dur­ing a St. Pa­trick's Day pa­rade in Dal­las. The NFL said it wasn't con­sid­ered in the six-game ban, but in­di­cated a pat­tern of poor be­hav­ior. El­liott, who had 1,631 yards rush­ing as a rookie, made his only ap­pear­ance of the pre­sea­son last week at home against Oak­land.

Sus­pen­sion for Ben­gals LB Bur­fict re­duced

Ben­gals line­backer Von­taze Bur­fict had his NFL sus­pen­sion re­duced from five to three games for his egre­gious hit on a Chiefs run­ning back dur­ing a pre­sea­son game. Dur­ing the sec­ond pre­sea­son game, Bur­fict lev­eled run­ning back An­thony Sher­man on a pass play when he wasn't the in­tended tar­get. Bur­fict ap­pealed and had two games shaved off the pun­ish­ment. He'll miss home games against the Ravens and Tex­ans and a road game with the Pack­ers. He'll be el­i­gi­ble to re­turn for a game in Cleve­land on Oct. 1. It's the sec­ond straight sea­son he's sus­pended for the first three games. He was sus­pended last sea­son for his hit to An­to­nio Brown's head dur­ing a 2015 play­off loss to the Steel­ers.

Gilchrist se­lected to Bills' Wall of Fame

Run­ning back Carl­ton Ch­ester "Cookie" Gilchrist is get­ting his place on the Buf­falo Bills' Wall of Fame in a nod to the fran­chise's Amer­i­can Foot­ball League hey­day. Gilchrist, who died at the age of 75 in Jan­uary 2011, will be­come the 31st mem­ber added to the wall ring­ing New Era Field dur­ing Buf­falo's home against Oak­land on Oct. 29. Though he only played three sea­sons in Buf­falo from 1962-64, Gilchrist was a 251-pound bruiser whose fe­ro­cious run­ning style drew com­par­isons to Jim Brown. Gilchrist's grit and sin­gle-mind­ed­ness ex­tended be­yond the field as he took stands against racism and wasn't afraid to de­mand bet­ter con­tracts. He was the AFL's player of the year in 1962, when he had 1,096 yards rush­ing and a league-lead­ing 13 touch­downs. In 1964, Gilchrist and quar­ter­back Jack Kemp led the Bills to their first of two straight AFL cham­pi­onships.

Eric Dick­er­son re­tires with the Rams

Eric Dick­er­son has signed a one-day con­tract to re­tire as a mem­ber of the Los An­ge­les Rams, re­unit­ing the fa­mous run­ning back with his first NFL fran­chise. The Rams for­mal­ized the deal at their train­ing com­plex Tuesday, with Dick­er­son wear­ing his Hall of Fame blazer to com­plete the pa­per­work. Dick­er­son set the sin­gle-sea­son NFL rush­ing record and suited up for four play­off teams dur­ing his ten­ure with the Rams from 1983-87. He is still among the most pop­u­lar play­ers in fran­chise his­tory, with his jersey fre­quently out­num­ber­ing those of any cur­rent player in the Coli­seum stands. "I'm re­ally happy for this mo­ment, be­cause even when I left the Rams, I was al­ways a Ram," Dick­er­son said. "I was al­ways a Los An­ge­les Ram. I never wanted to leave this foot­ball team when I got traded. My heart was bro­ken, just like a lot of fans' hearts were bro­ken that day." Dick­er­son also be­came a vice pres­i­dent of busi­ness devel­op­ment with the Rams, who re­turned home to Los An­ge­les last year af­ter 21 sea­sons in St. Louis. Dick­er­son will be in­volved in fan out­reach ef­forts as the Rams at­tempt to ce­ment their pri­macy in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia af­ter the re­lo­ca­tion of the Charg­ers. The 56-year-old Dick­er­son and the Rams have healed the rift cre­ated last year by for­mer coach Jeff Fisher's re­ac­tion to Dick­er­son's crit­i­cism of the team while the Rams went 4-12.

DAVID RICHARD/AP PHOTO

Browns cor­ner­back Joe Haden walks off the field af­ter an NFL pre­sea­son game against the Giants on Aug. 21 in Cleve­land. Haden was re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

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