August 26, 2014

Ray Farmer says the Cleveland Browns are not trading Joe Haden

Haden2It really is the silly season. I had no idea that the Browns would have to make such a ludicrous statement today until they did. Alas, Ray Farmer has told the beat reporters that the Browns will not be trading Joe Haden.

This is apparently in response to a tweet that Joe Haden sent last night simply said, “it’s a crazy business.” That was all that needed to be said, I guess. The rumors started flying and people’s imaginations must have gotten away from them. Then, a fake twitter account for Mary Kay Cabot tweeted that Haden had been traded for DeSean Jackson. Yes, there’s a fake twitter account for Mary Kay.

Regardless, rest easy Browns fans. Joe Haden is not being traded.

At least not yet.

[Also see: Pic: Do you want a Cleveland Browns wedding cake?]

(WFNY Photo by Candice Vlcek)


Scott Raab talks about Rob Chudzinski being fired and Andrew Bynum – WFNY Podcast – 2013-12-30

WFNY Podcast LogoScott Raab couldn’t be finished with the WFNY Podcast for 2013 after what happened over the weekend, so we decided to do one more in 2013. We touched on all of the obvious topics including…

  • Scott Raab talking about the Browns
  • Dumpster fire’s use in the mainstream
  • Joe Banner and the ego that goes with firing Chud
  • Jimmy Haslam’s role in the firing
  • The informational path from Mike Lombardi to the media
  • How should fans react to this today?
  • Was Rob Chudzinski the wrong guy for the job?
  • Rob Chudzinski’s own issues and how they impacted his own firing
  • Tony Grossi’s post about Chud refusing to cut Greg Little and Shawn Lauvao
  • Professional sports leagues are cartels, not pizza parlors
  • Scott: “We’re prisoners, not customers”
  • Is there anything Haslam and Banner could say for Scott?
  • Media should have an adversarial relationship with the front office
  • The Kyrie Irving situation is going to end the same way the LeBron one did
  • The Art Modell move continues to haunt coverage of the Browns
  • Andrew Bynum, the media and the Cavaliers’ future
  • Brian Windhorst continues to be one of the best Cavs beat reporters
  • The Kyrie Irving scenario and how it’s playing out [Read more...]

The Raid of Pilot Flying J – WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2013: No. 7

If you thought that 2012 was one crazy year in the world of Cleveland Sports, 2013 proved that there is rarely a dull moment. There were good times and bad, hirings and firings, wins and losses, and apperances in postseasons and courtrooms. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last five years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories to grace our local sports scene over the last 12 months. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. Do enjoy.

The Raid of Pilot Flying J 595

It is difficult to avoid putting on that old comfortable sweater of Cleveland sports misery. That ratty thing has holes in it, so it shouldn’t be worn in public anymore, but anyone who covers Cleveland sports has undoubtedly spent many days, weeks or decades wearing it, willingly or not. And yet, it’s impossible to avoid it with a story like the raid on Pilot Flying J and how it impacted the Cleveland sports scene in 2013. [Read more...]

Scott Raab on not investing in the Browns, Wild Card Tribe, and the writing environment – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-23

WFNY Podcast LogoThe Browns won, the Indians won and I also forced Scott to talk to us about his writing process. I just figure to have a writer of Scott’s stature on the podcast and not occasionally talk about the job of writing would be insane. He’s nice enough to put up with the topic on occasion.

Craig on vacation in Virginia Beach
The Cleveland Browns win against the Vikings
The Trent Richardson deal goes down
Rooting for the team but tuning out so you don’t have to invest in it
Joe Banner and his reputation
Michael Lombardi’s potential for floating rumors about Josh Gordon
The franchise quarterback conundrum
Bernie Kosar and the Browns competing for Super Bowls
The media and fans congratulating the Joe Banner / Mike Lombardi front office for getting a first round draft pick
Trick plays and gimmicking their way to a win
Christian Ponder and when he was picked
The AFC North and the lack of #1 quarterbacks in the division
Brandon Weeden and when we should see him again
“We’ve got to see what we have in….”
Tony Grossi, Eric Mangini and the finger that needed to be pointed at Lerner
The Cleveland Indians and Michael Bourn
Technical writing information on environment from Scott Raab [Read more...]

Will Burge talks WKNR, Stand-up comedy, Bleacher Report and Browns – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-12

WFNY Podcast LogoI wanted to talk to Will Burge about life after WKNR and also the latest on the Cleveland Browns. It was a really nice chat about that and Master Pizza and everything else.

Leaving WKNR
Will Burge trying stand up comedy
Stand up comedy is a writing gig more than a performance gig
BleacherReport and 92.3 the Fan
The “radio rivalry” between sports stations in Cleveland
Oneil Cousins playing guard in game 2
Weeden and his role in the failures of protection
The Browns defensive line against the Baltimore’s offensive line
Looking at Desmond Bryant’s mugshot instead of paying attention to the quality of the acquisition
The Bleacher Report and second thoughts about joining them considering their history
Tony Grossi and what it was like to work with him [Read more...]

NFL News: Jimmy Haslam explicitly states the Browns are not for sale

An anonymous email to Tony Rizzo of ESPN Cleveland WKNR claiming the Browns were (again) for sale has been directly disputed by current team owner Jimmy Haslam. Tony Grossi (also of WKNR) was able to get the exclusive word from Haslam, posted yesterday on their site.

Grossi covered it pretty well asking the owner if he could envision “any scenario” in which ownership of the team would change. “Absolutely not,” Haslam said. “We plan on owning the Browns for a long time.”

As I expressed in the podcast this week with Scott Raab, I will always have my doubts about that up to and until Jimmy Haslam appears to be clear of any potential trouble with Pilot Flying J and the continuing legal action there. It seems to me that even if he and his family have no plans, that the NFL – having been blind-sided once – are likely working every contact in their collective Rolodex to make sure they’re on top of it now.

Still, as it sits today, Haslam makes good points about investment in the team, from the rebuilding of the Browns front office, to the physical building in Berea and all the way to reported stadium improvements that are pending city approval. Despite the greatest fears of fans about Haslam’s pending legal issues impacting the team, there’s little to no evidence of that with regard to the team thus far.

As for the team and the game of football itself, training camp opens July 25th and you can expect to see Jimmy Haslam there.

[Related: Scott Raab on the Tribe, Jarret Jack and the Cavs, David Dellucci and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-07-07]

WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-25 – Cleveland Frowns in a two-part podcast

WFNY Podcast LogoPeter Pattakos is a guy that many at WFNY have come to know over the years in person. He never shies away from controversy and he serves a rabid, loyal fanbase at his site Cleveland Frowns. There’s so much backdrop to Peter and his site that it makes what he does at his site somewhat stark for newcomers. Jim Rome has inside jokes that his “clones” all are aware of kind of like junior historians of the program. Frowns has a trail of perspectives and causes that serve as a basis for his website and I thought it would be interesting to explore it a bit in a long-form manner. Perfect for a podcast.

Peter insisted on doing it in person, which was cool by me. He showed up with a bottle of wine that we crushed as we did a two-part podcast talking about Peter’s website, the Browns, Mangini, Modell, Grossi, Wahoo, the Cleveland media and even his recommendations for what he might do to change this very website. I didn’t anticipate taking them to heart, but he likes our site, so I was curious what he might say.

Hopefully this is the first of many podcasts with the Frowner. Also, he had one plug. Make sure you go to his Super Bowl party at the Map Room in Cleveland. And of course you can also follow him on twitter. [Read more...]

Tony Grossi Attacks Holmgren Again

On Tuesday, Tony Grossi claimed Browns President Mike Holmgren “did the absolute minimum” while he was in charge in Cleveland.

Today, Grossi is back on the attack-

“Here’s a suggestion for a smart thing to happen: Immediately revoke Holmgren’s office, his lunch ticket and his parking space. His unforgivingly condescending farewell press conference, at which he blatantly flaunted his personally lucrative tenure as Lerner’s no-account surrogate, probably cost Haslam a few more season-ticket renewals from Browns fans scratching to pay for boring football, out-dated music, cell-phone usage shutdown during games, and price-gouged beverages and parking.

Not only did Holmgren not apologize to Browns fans for his abhorrent work ethic, he shamefully invoked his wife’s bout with breast cancer (in 2001) as justification for keeping banker’s hours as president and de facto owner of a billion-dollar enterprise and Cleveland civic asset.

And he had the gall to lecture the media for being negative? Who preps him for these things?”

So don’t hold back Tony. Tell us how you really feel…

[Related: Holmgren says he was not offered a position]

Brad Childress: ‘There are a lot of times … that I don’t look at halftime stats’

During his usual Thursday news conference, Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress was badgered with questions about the team’s run/pass imbalance thus far on the season. His answer to checking the balance of playcalling may surprise you:

(On if seeing an imbalance in the run and pass in the first half affects how he calls the second) – “Not usually, because we’re tending to script our openers. It takes us through the first quarter, sometimes into the second quarter. We have a pretty good sense of where we’re at. It’s not like one of those ‘Hey, let’s throw it, throw it, throw it, throw it’, or ‘let’s run it, run it, run it, run it.’ We’ll never get into that. There are a lot of times, Tony (Grossi), to be honest with you that I don’t look at halftime stats. You’re doing it by the way you feel like you need to play to win the game.”

(On if he’s ever surprised when he sees the stats) – “I’m never surprised. There are times I think I’ve told you, that you guys were talking about numbers of plays for Trent when he first came back. We’re mindful sometimes of things like that. Sometimes we’ll count carries or touches, but that certainly hasn’t been the case for the last three weeks.”

Tony Grossi, the former Plain Dealer reporter and current ESPN Cleveland scribe, later penned an article with these quotes saying that this play-calling discrepancy “makes no sense.” This particular comment also was a hot topic on 92.3 The Fan on Friday.

According to Team Rankings, the Browns currently rank third in the league by passing on 69.2% of their offensive plays this season. Only New Orleans and Oakland have passed it more. The Browns also lead the NFL with a 73.4% mark in the past three games, something Childress specifically pointed to in his comments.

[Related: NFL News: Josh Cooper will, in fact, be added to Browns roster]

ESPN Cleveland: Haden wanted to be in “substance abuse” program

Tony Grossi and ESPN Cleveland have a report indicating that Joe Haden and his agent attempted an appeal that I suggested just based on common sense. When the rumors swirled that Joe Haden was popped for Adderall in an off-season test, it seemed silly to treat it like a performance-enhancer such as a steroid or growth hormone. Apparently Joe Haden’s counsel agreed.

A league source told ESPN Cleveland that Haden’s argument in his appeal was that his positive test should have been treated as a violation of the league’s policy on substance abuse rather than the policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. A first offender of the substance abuse policy would be admitted to the league’s drug program and not suspended.

All along, it seemed to me while the violation was clearly a stupid mistake on the part of Joe Haden, it never sit right that it was a “performance-enhancing” situation. It seemed that it was clearly a situation of drug or substance abuse more akin to recreational speed use than HGH or ‘roids.

The NFL obviously didn’t flinch on the appeal, but hopefully they revisit their policy going forward, because I think it mis-categorized Joe Haden’s stupid mistake.

[Related: Haden Back, Dimitri Patterson out “a couple of weeks”]

Grossi: Browns should “spread out” on offense

Tony Grossi has been a different guy since jumping over to WKNR. I’ve said it a few times. I also said Pat Shurmur looked like a different guy before he shrunk back into the ugly cocoon of negativity and churlishness once the Browns sale was announced. I digress.

Grossi seems to be enjoying his freedom from the Plain Dealer. Even if you still don’t like the Browns’ most tenured beat reporter, I think he nailed his post today about what he would do if he was Browns coach.

The plodding, 1980s-era fullback-tailback run game is not working here. It’s not only not working, it is deflating everybody. Richardson spends too much time running up the ankles of fullback Owen Marecic or guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao. He needs room. They get in his way.

The Browns have to spread out defenses with their formation. The NFL likes to think it invents every new trend in the game. Sorry. The college game is far ahead on the offensive side. That’s why Bill Belichick visited Urban Meyer at Florida for so many years – to get a leg up on his NFL rivals.

I recommend the whole post. It seems spot on to me. The Browns have some weapons now, and a few scheme adjustments would seemingly benefit the team greatly. Not to pile on Owen Marecic, but his presence on the field usually indicates an obvious run. His inability to punish anyone by catching the ball out of the backfield makes him even more one-dimensional.

It kind of reminds me of all those running plays last year where Alex Smith went in motion the exact same way probably 10 times per game. At least he caught the ball some.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 4: Winners and Losers]

NFL Draft: Grossi’s mock nabs Browns Richardson, Hill and shows lots of movement

The Cleveland Browns are getting closer to draft day and so are the pundits who are attaching their names to mock drafts. Tony Grossi is going all out this season at his new home at WKNR and honestly I am buying a lot of his logic. In this latest version the Browns get Trent Richardson at #4 and Stephen Hill at #22. While those are certainly interesting notes for Browns fans, what is also interesting is what happens to a couple names that have been linked to the Browns like Justin Blackmon and Ryan Tannehill.

Ryan Tannehill will “drop” to Miami at #8 and Justin Blackmon drops all the way to Buffalo at #10.

It all sounds pretty feasible really. Then again with so many variables moving around in my head anything sounds feasible to me right about now. Not a single guy rumored to be a first rounder feels like a bust with ten days to go, yet we know there will be more than one for sure.

Imagine what that draft would feel like for Bills fans. They keep Stevie Johnson in free agency, add Mario Williams on defense and then get the draft’s highest rated wide receiver all the way down at #10? That, my friends is an exciting off-season. I guess Phil Savage was right when he said to root for Buffalo.

[Related: Are the Browns overrating their own running backs?]


Come join us at the Two Bucks in Middleburg Heights for a Browns NFL draft party. WFNY writers will be on hand, as well as a mystery Cleveland Brown player. There will be WFNY giveaways and much more. Hope to see you there!

Report: Tony Grossi leaving the Plain Dealer

Tony Grossi announced via his twitter feed that he will be leaving the Plain Dealer-

“After more than 30 years, I am leaving the Plain Dealer. And thanks to Peyton Manning for stealing my thunder.”

Grossi was of course removed from the Cleveland Browns beat earlier this year for a tweet about Browns owner Randy Lerner in which Grossi called Lerner “a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world”.

[Related: Tony Grossi Out as Browns beat reporter]

While We’re Waiting… Sportswriters tweeting, Trading Sessions and Bullpen spots

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

Sorry Bob, but this has a little Get off my lawn to it -”Why should a sportswriter who is covering, say, a basketball game, send out little comments about the game every five minutes? If the tweet recipients were that interested in the action, wouldn’t they be riveted to the game on radio or TV? And if the sportswriter is tweeting every five minutes, isn’t his story going to suffer? To write a decent story, you need enough time to do two things: fully absorb the nuances of the event and turn those observations into a coherent, compelling piece of writing.” [Dyer/] [Read more...]

Report: Tony Grossi Out as Browns Beat Reporter

Scene Magazine’s Vince Grzegorek has reported that The Plain Dealer has removed Tony Grossi from the Cleveland Browns beat. Grossi “accidentally tweeted” last week calling Browns owner Randy Lerner “a pathetic figure, the most irrelevant billionaire in the world”.

Vince writes-

“He was in hot water with his editors and bosses at the PD over the inadvertent tweet, which displayed a huge bias — hatred even — toward the Browns’ owner. There was an obvious question whether he could objectively continue to cover the beat, the answer to which came when the Plain Dealer weighed in today with the move.”

Many Cleveland sports fans on twitter and facebook (and in our comment section) have been calling for Grossi’s removal for years, and aren’t very sympathetic to his dismissal today. There has been no official word from the PD on the disciplinary action or any potential replacements. (For full disclosure, WFNY has a partnership with the PD’s online home,

[Related: the interview that started Grossi's twitter mess]

While We’re Waiting…Carmona’s Dilemma, Grossi in Trouble and an Indian Taking a Pay Cut?

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

“Carmona, as was made evident when it was publicized that the Indians had financed dental work to help improve his nutrition, did not grow up in the kind of context. Here, in a blunt instrument sense, is the situation it seems Carmona faced: remain in 3rd-world poverty or falsify his identity, illegally, and give himself a much better chance of changing not only his own life but the lives of those around him. He chose the latter, and it worked out in spades. Did he make the smart choice? Did he make the ethical choice?

What does it mean that by dumping dollars into a sport, I support a system that forces young athlete after young athlete to such a decision point? What does it mean that 15 year olds in the Dominican Republic are forced to make a choice in a context that is more complicated, both morally and legally, than any situation I’ve faced in 27 years of life, and likely more complicated than any I’ll ever face? Is reform of such a system even possible?” [Let's Go Tribe] [Read more...]

Browns Reportedly Reach Agreement with Safety Usama Young

Chris Fedor of WKNR said it was imminent and Tony Grossi has apparently confirmed that the Cleveland Browns have signed 26-year old Usama Young.  Young comes to the Browns by way of the New Orleans Saints and the third round of the 2007 NFL draft.  Grossi also reports that the Browns expect Young to be their starting free safety this season, spelling out Abe Elam’s future (or lack thereof) pretty definitively.

I know this isn’t the big splash that a lot of Browns fans were looking for, but it seems like a decent gamble.  Young is a Kent State grad and hasn’t played a ton.  He served as a backup and utility type player on special teams for the Saints.  There is really no shame in being a backup to Darren Sharper in your mid-twenties.  You can consider this a real opportunity to judge the Browns’ scouting department. [Read more...]

Chris Perez Takes Issue With Paul Hoynes on Twitter

I am sure some of you are sick of another article from me that involves Twitter.  I just can’t apologize when it has become a place where players, fans and media are all hanging out and engaging each other.  After yesterday’s win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chris Perez was irritated with Cleveland Plain Dealer beat reporter Paul Hoynes. [Read more...]

Browns Enjoy Flexibility at the Six Spot

In contrast with the NBA, the prevailing notion over the past decade in the NFL draft is that the number one pick is a burden.  It saddles what is already a terrible team with an unproven player, often a quarterback, that uses up a disproportionate amount of the team’s cap space.  Browns fans know this as well as anyone – watching their team consistently miss at the very top of the draft has left the team languishing for a decade.

The past two drafts, however, the Browns found themselves at the 5 and 7 spot with the overwhelming front office and fan favorite targets – Aaron Curry and Eric Berry – off the board and just out of reach (missing out may have worked out for the best, but there was certainly an unsatisfactory feeling on draft day when they came off the board).  This April, the Browns once again find themselves in that exact range, with the 6th overall pick.  While we’re right in the heart of the evaluation process, with the mix of needs and prospects for teams choosing around them, the Browns should have a ton of flexibility on draft day to either fill a position(s) of need or move picks.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… T.J. Ward, The Letter M, Tony Grossi and More

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

National Football Post talks to T.J. Ward about a variety of topics including some missed interceptions.  But, um, when did the Browns play the Colts? – “I got my hand on a couple of balls earlier this season where I just wasn’t able to bring them in. I had one against Baltimore that I dropped. We played New Orleans and I tipped one and it went off my fingertips. I had another one against the Colts where it kind of got knocked out of my hands. Sometimes, you get balls tipped. You’ve got to be at the right place at the right time.” [National Football Post / Yahoo] [Read more...]