August 26, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, Michael Sam and Don Jones – WFNY Podcast – 2014-05-12

It’s been quite a while since I talked to Jon on the podcast, but I asked him to keep tabs on the NFL draft as a passive Browns fan who is married to a real Browns fan.

We ended up talking a lot about draft value, trades, Johnny Football, Josh Gordon’s impending suspension and the cultural moment of Michael Sam being drafted.

In addition we talked about the Miami Dolphins’ punishment of Don Jones for his two tweets about the Michael Sam kiss on television.

Check out this episode!

DeSean Jackson evades Browns “aggressive” pursuit, agrees with Redskins


The headline of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek. We might never find out if the Browns were truly “aggressively” pursuing DeSean Jackson. What we do know is that Jackson’s agent was aggressively pursuing a deal for his client and according to reports this morning, he found a deal in Washington.

Darren Heitner of has reported that the deal is worth $24 million over three years, with $16 million guaranteed.  And that’s $16 million fully guaranteed.  Upon signing.  Money in the bank.

So, did the Browns really miss out on this? It all depends on if you believe they were actually in on it to begin with. The argument about whether they should have been is almost moot at this point. I really just want to know if they were. My favorite tweet on the topic came last night just before 8 p.m. after a whole day of hearing the prospects get bandied about on the Internet and sports talk radio.

Come to think of it, it really was pretty quiet on the rumor front after the Browns had been initially linked to the pursuit.

The thing that I couldn’t help but think about once I heard the details of DeSean Jackson’s deal is what I wrote recently about what the experience of trading for Dolphins’ wideout Mike Wallace might be like financially. We know that Jackson got what amounts to a two-year deal for $16 million with a chance that the Redskins could possibly keep him for a third year for another $8 million. I modified Wallace’s deal to include a new signing bonus to make it more cap friendly, the best I could do was make his contract into what amounts to a two-year deal for just over $22 million. And few would try to debate the idea that Wallace is as good as DeSean Jackson.

Even if someone could convince me that Mike Wallace is comparable or better than DeSean Jackson, I have a difficult time believing that he’s worth an extra $6 million over the next two years.

Good for the Redskins I guess. And maybe bad for the Browns. You know, if they were ever in on it at all.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

What would it look like if the Browns traded for Mike Wallace?


There was a sense of relief that the Cleveland Browns didn’t sign Mike Wallace last off-season after the details of his contract emerged. The fact is, as badly as the Cleveland Browns needed help at receiver, it was an absurdly large contract. How absurd? Now that there’s been a shakeup in the Dolphins front office there are rumors via Jason La Canfora that the Dolphins would like to explore the idea of taking an $8.8 million cap hit for the right to trade Wallace right now. So, without advocating it, I thought it might be interesting to look at the financial implications of trading for Wallace. [Read more...]

D’Qwell Jackson’s free agent tour stops in Miami


If D’Qwell Jackson is looking for a new NFL team that has more continuity and less dysfunction than the Browns, he might barely be achieving that in Miami. Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel reports that D’Qwell visited with the Dolphins yesterday afternoon after the team re-upped Brent Grimes for four years and $32 million with $16 mil guaranteed. I’m sure D’Qwell wouldn’t mind having some version of that deal if he could get it in Miami.

The Dolphins could likely use a leader of D’Qwell Jackson’s caliber on their team. For all the teeth gnashing in Cleveland about Jackson’s slightly-above-average play, there was never a doubt about the quality of the man and his impact on the locker room or in the community. On the heels of Richie Incognito’s reign in Miami, D’Qwell Jackson would be a good addition to that team.

We’ll continue to watch with interest to see where Jackson goes. While it made tons of sense for the Browns to part ways, it wasn’t a fun or easy goodbye for most fans and commentators.

Jackson has also visited the Denver Broncos and the Tennessee Titans.

[Related: The Browns have a lot of money, so why not just spend it all?]

There’s no way for the Browns to win right now

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It’s an impossible task to win the off-season in January and February. The Browns are used to finding ways to win back their fans around draft time, but right now, it’s impossible. The fans have lost complete faith and trust in this entire franchise once again, and there’s nothing to be done. Even hiring a coach right now would only appease (maybe) 50% of the fans who are paying attention to the team right now. Even given that revelation that there’s nothing to do to win, I’m still in a bit of shock over just how bad this team looks right now. I can’t think of a time when there’s been as much doubt as there is right now considering the coaching search and the latest revelations about the circumstances surrounding Davone Bess at the time he was given a pretty lucrative extension.

[Read more...]

Dolphins sought trade of Bess despite knowledge of mental condition

Bess TD 2The Richie Incognito bullying scandal has officially met its match. Just weeks after Davone Bess was hospitalized against his will due to concerns surrounding his mental state, the Miami Dolphins took a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach as they shopped the  veteran wide receiver to other NFL teams.

Less than one month before shipping Bess out, the Dolphins learned Bess’s family had him Marchman Acted so he could be evaluated and receive treatment for the emotional or psychological issues that seemed to be troubling him.

But while the Dolphins knew Bess was troubled, sources confirm they took a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach on the matter when shopping and trading Bess. The Dolphins did not offer information on Bess’s apparent personal instability.

Late Friday night, reports surfaced that detailed several chilling scenarios involving Bess and various states of mental volatility which predated his arrest in a Florida airport. While the Dolphins did not break and NFL rules by not disclosing what had happened to Bess, not only did they opt to help their player or cut ties so he could focus on himself rather than the game of football, they felt that the best course of action would be to ship him off to unfamiliar territory and let another franchise sign him to three-year contract extension only to be left picking up the pieces.

[Related: The Decomposition of Davone Bess]

Stairwells and Hospitals: The Davone Bess situation continues to unfold

Bess MugshotThe Davone Bess situation—which it officially is at this stage, a situation—continues to get more bizarre by the hour. What had appeared as a bottoming out, Bess being arrested in a Florida airport for erratic behavior and assaulting a police officer, can now be confirmed as merely being the tip of the wide receiver’s downward spiraling iceberg. Shortly after Bess was released from jail on Friday afternoon, The Miami Herald reported that he was hospitalized against his will just weeks before he was traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Six BSO deputies were needed that night to restrain Bess, who was screaming, “Hide the guns!” “Where is my weed?” and “I want to get in the end zone; throw me the football!” according to the incident report. […]

On that night, BSO was called to Bess’ Cooper City home. When the first deputy arrived, he noted a strong smell of cannabis coming from the master bedroom. The deputy also observed several males trying to restrain an agitated, incoherent Bess, who was trying to throw them off. He started screaming about guns and drugs and football. Efforts by fire rescue to sedate him were unsuccessful.

Finally, a half-dozen cops were able to pin him down. Bess was taken to Memorial East Hospital for observation.

Bess’ mother, Chinell Carpenter, had flown in that day from California after receiving a call that her son was not acting like himself. She said then that Bess had not slept in three days and was going through some serious personal issues.

As WFNY noted earlier this month, prior to the arrest, Bess was brought to Cleveland as a veteran presence to compliment the team’s stable of young wide receivers. Bess’ season with the Browns was troubled out of the gate as the sure-handed slot option would go on to lead the league in drops before being excused for what the team called “personal reasons.” The belief was that Bess’ family, located in a hardscrabble section of Oakland, California, was undergoing some turmoil. Almost immediately after the player was excused, he began posting pictures that depicted a complete change in behavior (including blatant advertisement of his violation of the NFL’s drug policy) from the man who, just years prior, had a life-changing experience in a Costa Rican village.

What many preferred to cast aside as a man merely smoking marijuana—a commonly-used illegal substance, they said—now appears to have substantially deeper roots.

Among the rest of the news pouring out after Bess’ arrest is a report from Cleveland’s Scene Magazine, stating that Bess had an incident in Cleveland before he was excused from the team.

I found out that my partner had tried to go down the stairs and this guy was blocking his way. He asked him what he was doing, got no response, and when he saw the guy had a belt in his hand he started back up. He then heard the guy give a blood curdling scream.

We called 911, but by the time the police came, he was gone. We found out later that a woman had taken him out of the building and driven away. We then found out that it was Davone Bess visiting his psychologist in the building.

The most poignant of quotes to come out following the incident (and subsequent barrage of additional information) comes from former Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano. In a column penned by The Akron Beacon-Journal’s Marla Ridnour, Rutigliano admits that the Miami Dolphins come off looking bad, but once he arrived in Cleveland, Bess’ welfare was the responsibility of the Browns.

On Friday, a source familiar with the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to do so, said Bess’s “family issues have turned into medical issues for him.”

Medical professionals might have interpreted Bess’s tweets as cries for help. Rutigliano certainly sees a player who needs assistance and wonders why the Browns didn’t involve Collins, now head of the psychology and psychiatry department at the Cleveland Clinic and a consultant on the NFL’s drug program since 2000.

“I don’t know if Miami knew anything about it and I don’t really care. Maybe we could have helped him and we could have avoided what’s going on,” Rutigliano said by phone Friday from his Waite Hill home. “Obviously what’s going on right now he must have a problem because nobody would throw away what he threw away. He’s still a young guy. He probably could have played another five, six, seven years.”

While we will never know exactly what each team or regional reporters knew regarding the depth of Bess’ troubles (or to what extent these individuals did to get him help), the mosaic is coming together and it’s making each and every party look culpable. What is known, as the Browns are reportedly gearing up to cut ties with Bess on February 3, is that this situation has all of the makings for one that could very well have a tragic ending. We can only hope that the sudden influx of coverage will serve to aid Bess in finding the proper and requisite care. Football should be the least of anyone’s concern.

NFL News: Davone Bess arrested for assaulting officer/firefighter

Bess MugshotDavone Bess has been posting strange pictures to social media and now we can add a mugshot to the portfolio. According to CBS in Florida, Bess was arrested at 6:19 a.m. this morning for “assaulting an officer/firefighter” at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

Bess missed the last two Browns games this season while dealing with personal matters. The Browns traded for Bess this off-season and gave him a $14.18 million contract with $5.75 million guaranteed. He is set to make just over $3 million in the upcoming season, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to (or allowed to) play between photos showing apparent marijuana use and now an assault arrest on top of it.

The Browns move to bring Davone Bess to Cleveland was frequently referenced as a good move and a no-brainer. Bess has really done a lot in the past year to make this look like a horrendous deal via hindsight.

[Related: The Decomposition of Davone Bess]


Dolphins interested in Cleveland assistant GM Ray Farmer

ray farmer brownsThe Miami Dolphins are finally looking for a new general manager. One of their first targets is Cleveland Browns assistant GM Ray Farmer.

The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson broke the news earlier on Thursday over at National Football Post. The Dolphins already have requested and received permission to interview Farmer for their opening. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora has since shared the full list of outside candidates.

Miami and six-year general manager Jeff Ireland mutually parted ways on Tuesday. Their relationship started off well — that surprise 11-5 wildcat-led playoff run in 2008 — but that was their last postseason appearance. The organization made several big splashes this past offseason, and then despite missing the playoffs again at 8-8, Ireland appeared to be staying in town for another year. First, only offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was let go last week. Then, all of sudden, Ireland was gone.

In the wake of the sudden news, the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero wrote a bombshell of an article about in-fighting between Ireland and the team’s Executive VP Dawn Aponte. That name might sound familiar to Cleveland fans as she was actually traded to the Dolphins organization in February 2010. She served as a front office capologist for the Browns.

Farmer, 39, is in just his first season with the Browns. The team hired him away from Kansas City to be their missing personnel guy. With the Chiefs he was Director, of Pro Personnel for seven seasons. He also was a scout for the Atlanta Falcons for five years.

The Plain Dealer’s Tom Reed had an excellent profile on Farmer back in October. It’s expected that he’ll be a general manager sometime soon, although internal candidate Brian Gaine — Miami’s assistant GM — is generally regarded as the early favorite for this open position.

Update on 12:20 p.m. Friday — Salguero has an article on Friday with sources saying Farmer is indeed the leading candidate for the position. This is why, per Salguero’s multiple sources:

He truly is a strong candidate with a strong background. Secondly, former Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson has joined the Dolphins search and is Stephen Ross’s chief advisor in the process. Peterson is a 30-year friend and confidant to Stephen Ross. And Peterson loves Farmer.

Will be interesting to see how this potentially unfolds. If you haven’t read it yet, the Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour skewered the Browns in her Friday column for favoring oft-ridiculed Michael Lombardi over Farmer.

[Related: The Dude, Michael, and Joey…who loved bowling]

Photo: Jennifer Nawalaniec, Cleveland Browns

Breaking down Davone Bess’ contract and the cost of cutting him

148-20130726-0350_600In light of Davone Bess’ strange behavior that Scott so eloquently discussed today, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a hard look at the financial implications of saying goodbye to the receiver.

The Browns traded for Bess during the NFL draft of 2013. To get Bess to Cleveland cost the Browns their 4th rounder (104) and 5th rounder (164,) while they also received Miami’s 4th (111) and 7th rounder (217.) That’s a lot of moving pieces, but let’s explore.

Browns received Davone Bess, pick number 111 which was traded to Pittsburgh, who took Shamarko Thomas, and 217 which the Browns used to pick Armonty Bryant.

The Browns traded 104, which the Dolphins used to select Jalani Jenkins, and 164 which the Dolphins used on running back Mike Gillislee.

The Browns then gave Davone Bess a contract for four years and $14.18 million. The deal included $5.75 million in guaranteed money, but basically no bonuses. Bess made just over $2.6 million in 2013, and is guaranteed his 2014 salary of $3.067 million, from what I can tell. So, even if they cut Bess, I believe they would take a cap hit of $3.067 million.

The Browns can afford it, of course, but that doesn’t mean they’d prefer to afford it. The Browns might be incurring a large sum of “dead money” at a record pace.

If the Browns cut Bess, that will add more than $3 million to Trent Richardson’s $6.67 million in dead cash. If they also cut D’Qwell Jackson and Brandon Weeden, for example, that would add $4.2 million for each to the pool, bringing the total dead amount to just over $18 million in cap hits for guys who aren’t contributing on the field at all for the team.

If my calculations are correct and the Browns do part ways with Bess, D’Qwell Jackson, and Weeden, they will still only have a cap number of approximately $100 million (51 players) while the total cap value is $123.6 million for 2014. This means the Browns will have around $23-24 million if available cap space, but they also have potentially expensive negotiations going on with T.J. Ward and Alex Mack. Signing those two players – while good – presumably only keeps the team at its current level of quality as opposed to improving it.

The good news? If the Browns decide to cut Greg Little, his dead money will only be $230,000.

The bad news? The former – being able to cheaply cut a 2013 starter – qualifies as good news with regard to the Cleveland Browns right now.

[Make sure you read: The Decomposition of Davone Bess]

Scott Raab on Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin, the media, the Cavs and going for two – WFNY Podcast – 2013-11-11

WFNY Podcast LogoThis week, with the Browns on the bye, Scott and I spent a lot of time talking about things that weren’t specifically related to Cleveland sports. We talked about the ongoing story of the Dolphins. We talked about the word “bullying” vs. the actual harassment. We talked about Richie Incognito and his checkered past. We talked about the culture of football and the culture of fans.

We also talked about the Cavaliers and the roster that Chris Grant has built. As it is undoubtedly early, there are still some real concerns over the roster that has been constructed by Chris Grant with the holes that are still left. Where will the roster go from here and how long will it take to find out exactly who they are?

Finally, we discussed the Bengals and their end-of-game strategy to kick an extra point to tie it at 17 rather than go for two and go home either as a one point winner or as loser on the spot. [Read more...]

Talking Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin with Brian and Mitch – WFNY Podcast – 2013-11-07

WFNY Podcast Logo

After the Cavs talk we decided to keep the tapes rolling to talk about the Dolphins, bullying, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. It’s a hot topic. Brian Spaeth has certainly been outspoken about it on his blog. We get into the meat of the issue.

It’s an interesting subject. There are details to come out and there are details that have come out since we initially talked about 1 PM on Wednesday November 6th.

Check out this episode

NFL News: Browns cut Bobby Rainey, make other roster moves

The Cleveland Browns are even thinner at running back today than they were before now that they’ve reportedly cut Bobby Rainey. Rainey was snatched from the clutches of the Baltimore Ravens during roster cuts August 31st. All those articles about Bobby Rainey’s fantasy value on the heels of Willis McGahee taking a practice off to rest his knee will have to be updated, I guess.

In addition to cutting Rainey, the Browns put Josh Aubrey on IR while promoting WR Tori Gurley and DB Julian Posey from the practice squad.

Julian Posey is the older brother of former Ohio State (and current Houston Texans) wide receiver DeVier Posey. Julian went to Ohio University and went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft. He’s been around with the Jets and the Dolphins before being signed to the Browns’ practice squad in early September.

So, expect a steady diet of Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya this week. There don’t appear to be many more options unless the Browns decided to convert Greg Little back to running back.

[Related: NFL News: Browns QB Brian Hoyer has successful ACL surgery]

What do you make of the Ravens game? – Cleveland Browns Roundtable


Craig: So now that the negativity from week one has been exhausted, how does everyone feel about the Browns’ chances to bounce back against a Ravens team that got their faces pounded against Denver. Michael Oher is likely to be hobbled if not out. The Browns defense didn’t play horribly against Miami. The Ravens defense still has some pieces, but they are feeling the losses of Ray Lewis, Ellerbe and Ed Reed. Still, the Ravens are 6.5 point favorites last I heard. So how are you feeling?

Jacob: Not great. Ya know, TD’s buddy TA has been all over Twitter this week talking about bets and that 6.5-pt line. [Read more...]

WFNY Stats & Info: Cleveland Browns’ woeful Week One offense

By now, we’ve read a lot about the Cleveland Browns disappointing offensive performance in Sunday afternoon’s opening 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Yet, the pure volume and disheartening report from the box score statistics tells an even more gruesome story. All the numbers below are via’s Play Index tool.

Overall, the Browns ran 72 plays on Sunday: 59 pass (6 sacks), 13 runs. The breakdown of plays by down is shown below:

First down plays (30): 20 pass, 10 rush.
Second down plays (24): 21 pass, 3 rush.
Third down plays (14): 14 pass.
Fourth down plays (4): 4 pass.

It’s pretty astounding that the Browns passed on 21 out of 24 second-down opportunities in a game where they were almost always down just one score. It’s perhaps because 17 of these 24 second-down plays had 8+ yards to go. Of those 21 pass attempts, two resulted in a sack and 14 resulted in a completion. At least the Browns managed to get 10 first downs on these plays, which is an OK number all things considered.

Brandon Weeden’s net yards per attempt (which factors in sacks and sack yards) in the game was 4.14. Among NFL teams in Week 1 so far, only Jacksonville (2.48) had worse. The NFL average is only 6.48. Last season, Weeden’s net yards per attempt was 5.84 and the NFL average was also a much higher 8.87.

Trent Richardson gained an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Last season, he also averaged exactly 3.6 yards per carry on his 17.8 attempts per game. This was a topic I featured in last week’s edition of The Diff. The average NFL rush play in Week 1 so far has gained only 3.43 yards per attempt. In 2012, that number was 4.26.

The Browns offense has been the fourth-least efficient in football in Week One so far, averaging just 4.0 yards per play from scrimmage. The three teams worse are Pittsburgh (3.7), Tennessee (3.6) and Jacksonville (2.5). The Browns averaged 5.0 yards per play last season and the NFL’s worst team was Arizona at 4.1.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game One: Winners and Losers]

Mike Wallace sulked after his Dolphins team beat the Browns

While the Cleveland Browns left roster gaps this off-season, I’m pretty happy they didn’t go chasing Mike Wallace. According to The National Football Post, Mike Wallace refused to talk to reporters following the Dolphins big road win against the Browns in Cleveland yesterday. The report states that Wallace was “visibly angry.” Tom Reed’s game recap had some nice non-quotes from Wallace as well.

It’s good to have personal standards and to want to play well for your team, but in a complex game like football, sometimes you’re the distraction so your team can expose other weaknesses. You know, the kinds of weaknesses that result in nine catches and 114 yards and a touchdown for Brian Hartline against a combination of Buster Skrine and Chris Owens.

Even if the Steelers had gobs of cap space it’s hard to imagine they would have been chasing after this kind of guy. Such is often the case when the Steelers use up a young player’s early success before allowing him to take his diva receiver attitude elsewhere. Just ask Santonio Holmes.

Anyway, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that this is the feeling that Joe Haden gives opposing wideouts. And I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on Mike Wallace. At least he wasn’t suspended for the game yesterday.

[Related: Cleveland Browns missed a big opportunity with first impression]

CBS, ESPN experts overwhelmingly pick Browns to win week 1

With Browns kickoff just 24 hours away, many of the NFL outlets have already unveiled their week 1 predictions. And according to two of the most popular football sites — CBS and ESPN — the Browns are an overwhelmingly popular choice to win.

CBS’ eight experts all picked Cleveland and its 1.5-point spread over the visiting Miami Dolphins. Dolphins fans were not so happy (tweet) about the CBS predictions when unveiled last week, as first brought to our attention by @RyinCbus.

On CBS this week, only three other teams were unanimous picks against the spread: Baltimore +7.5 at Denver (which failed miserably), New England -9.5 at Buffalo and Indianapolis -9.5 vs. Oakland. That puts the Browns in fairly prestigious company for week 1.

Then, 10 out of ESPN’s 13 analysts picked the Browns in a straight-up fashion. The three people who picked Miami: Ron Jaworski, Cris Carter and K.C. Joyner. That’s two former players (including an Ohio State legend) and “The Football Scientist” in Joyner.

When not factoring in the spread, nearly every single game had an overwhelming majority of at least 10/13ths. Only two games, in fact, did not have such a heavy favorite per ESPN: Baltimore-Denver (which failed) and Cincinnati-Chicago.

These predictions are fairly surprising to me, as is Grantland’s No. 15 ranking of the Browns in their preseason projections. Miami ranked only No. 26, which even despite their high-risk free agent signings still seems quite low to me after their solid, yet unspectacular 7-9 season a year ago. In my mind, the two teams project to be pretty even, as the 1.5-point spread indicates.

[Related: NFL Week 1 – Previewing the Dolphins vs. the Browns – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-06]

While We’re Waiting… Browns face former Steelers standout

While We’re Waiting is the daily morning link roundup that WFNY has been serving up for breakfast for the last several years. We hope you enjoy the following recent collection of yummy and nutritious Cleveland sports-related articles. Anything else to add? Email us at

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Looking at keys for the Dolphins, including this former division rival: “I thought a lot of Wallace’s success in Pittsburgh came from Ben Roethlisberger extending plays and being able to find him deep. If Haden can eliminate him from the game like he has the past three times he’s gone up against him, it will be a major plus for a Browns secondary that might be without Buster Skrine on Sunday.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature] [Read more...]

NFL Week 1 – Previewing the Dolphins vs. the Browns – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-06

WFNY Podcast LogoWeek one is finally here! Craig and Andrew break down the matchup week one between the Cleveland Browns and the Dolphins.

Ravens vs. the Broncos
The value of Anquan Boldin
What do you make of the Dolphins?
Can the Browns come out and take care of business week one
Moving on after the departure of Reggie Bush
Browns leading by playing defense and running the ball  [Read more...]

‘Paint the Town Browns’ website giving away a VIP experience for Sunday’s game

Paint The Town Browns is asking Cleveland fans to make a fan pledge today in order to enter a home opener VIP experience.

The VIP experience includes:

– Pair of Tickets to Browns vs. Dolphins (9/8/13)

– Pair of Pregame Field Passes

– TWO (2) Cleveland Browns Merchandise Gift Bags

– $100 Food Voucher

Each day leading up to the Sunday’s game against the Dolphins will feature a different event. Keep checking back.