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Lerner should bring Brown, Holmgren together

Owner must mediate dispute

September 5, 2010
By ED PUSKAS Tribune Chronicle Sports Editor

Some scribbles from a football-dominated notebook:

STALEMATE: The Cleveland Browns have an absentee owner. That much is clear as the rift between team president Mike Holmgren and former Browns running back Jim Brown - still the greatest player in NFL history - became very public and very ugly.

It should never have reached this point. Owner Randy Lerner, who initially sought Brown's advice and agreed to pay him for it over time, should have been involved when Holmgren and Brown met to discuss the latter's role with the team.

Holmgren essentially tried to reduce the role of a Cleveland icon to that of a ceremonial greeter. Brown bristled at what he considered a demotion and later went public with his complaint. He also played the race card in a letter to the team in which he said he would not attend the team's Ring of Honor ceremonies later this month.

Lerner needs to pay less attention to his Aston Villa soccer team and more to the Browns. He doesn't have to be as hands-on as Jerry Jones or Al Davis, but doing nothing as the relationship between the Browns and the greatest player ever to wear their colors deteriorated is blatant neglect.

REMATCH: The faces and names - save for Jim Tressel and some of his assistant coaches - have changed since Ohio State beat Miami, 31-24, in double-overtime in a memorable national championship game.

The Hurricanes get another chance at the Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus. The game shapes up as one of the most-anticipated matchups of the first month of the season. Ohio State entered the season ranked No. 2 in The Associated Press poll. Miami was 13th.

Both teams dominated their season-opening opponents. The Buckeyes beat Marshall, 45-7. The Hurricanes beat Florida A&M, 45-0. Both Thursday night games were little more than scrimmages. The real season opener is set for 3:40 p.m. on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

The quarterbacks - Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor and Miami's Jacory Harris - both are mentioned as Heisman Trophy candidates. The difference could be at tailback, where the Buckeyes are loaded, and on defense, where Ohio State's speed is not typical of a Big Ten Conference team.

REMATCH II: This also is the week for a highly anticipated high school game.

Howland will host Warren G. Harding on Friday night at Richard Lombardo Stadium. Both teams are 2-0. The Tigers have beaten Ashtabula Lakeside and Lakeview, while the Raiders defeated East Cleveland Shaw and Chaney.

Howland and Harding haven't met since 1998, when the Raiders rolled, 62-0.

Expect an overflow crowd Friday night. Get there early. It should be a night to remember, no matter what happens.



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