Browns waive Suggs, acquire center from Philadelphia

Updated: September 2, 2006, 10:27 PM ET
Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns' crazy carousel at center took another spin on Saturday.

The club, which has gone through four starting centers since the start of training camp, acquired veteran Hank Fraley from the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional pick in the 2008 draft.

Fraley's arrival will hopefully solidify a problematic position, which has dominoed into more chaos since Pro Bowl free agent LeCharles Bentley sustained a season-ending knee injury on the Browns' first contact play of training camp.

Bentley's loss was followed by the sudden retirement of Bob Hallen, who quit citing a back problem the Browns claim they knew nothing about. Hallen's departure was then compounded by free agent Alonzo Ephraim being suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The Browns then acquired Ross Tucker in a trade from New England and Lennie Friedman in a deal with Chicago. But Tucker, who started the final exhibition game against the Bears, had his contract terminated Saturday.

Now, it's up to Fraley, a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder who made 71 career starts -- and 10 in the playoffs -- for the Eagles, to anchor the line.

Fraley had season-ending surgery for a torn rotator cuff midway through last season and couldn't reclaim his starting job from Jamaal Jackson.

"There were mixed reactions," Fraley said of being traded. "I have spent six years here, about to be seven. I have built a good relationship with the guys out there, and this is where my family is. On the other hand, it's a great new start for my career. I'm actually really excited to get out there in Cleveland."

It was a busy day for the Browns, who made 22 roster moves to get down to the 53-player limit.

Running back Lee Suggs, Cleveland's leading rusher in 2004 but slowed by injuries throughout his career, was waived. The club tried to trade Suggs last month, but the deal was voided and he returned when the New York Jets said the 26-year-old failed their physical.

Coach Romeo Crennel said Suggs' medical history had no bearing on the decision.

"If that had been a major factor, he would have been cut last year," Crennel said.

The Browns also placed on injured reserve running back William Green, who led them to the playoffs as a rookie and has overcome personal problems. Green may stay on IR and be paid for the season, but, if the club works out a settlement, he'll be cut and could re-sign with Cleveland or elsewhere.

With Suggs and Green gone, second-year back Jason Wright will back up starter Reuben Droughns.

"Jason is a dependable guy," Crennel said. "He can help on special teams and he's a smart guy. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and we've been able to see him run the ball. He can step up and pick up a block. He's done everything that we've asked our running backs to do and we felt like he would be able to handle the load."

Wide receiver Frisman Jackson and cornerback Pete Hunter also had their contracts terminated.

Rookie nose tackle Babtunde Oshinowo, a sixth-round draft pick, was also waived, but the Browns might try to keep him on their practice squad.

The team also announced that defensive back Daven Holly has been suspended for one game for violating the NFL personal conduct policy.

Suggs, a fourth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech in 2003, led the Browns with 744 yards two years ago. At times, Suggs showed great breakaway speed. He ripped off a 78-yard TD run against Cincinnati in the final game as a rookie, but his biggest problem was he couldn't stay on the field.

Suggs missed 23 of 48 career games with neck, shoulder, toe, ankle and thumb injuries.

He was expected to be Cleveland's No. 1 back in '04, but missed the first three games with a neck injury. Suggs played in seven games, missed three more with a toe injury, and finished the 2004 season with three straight 100-yard games.

Last summer, Suggs sprained his ankle during the preseason and sat out Cleveland's first two games. By the time he returned, Droughns had established himself as the Browns' first-team back. Suggs was inactive for six more games with a thumb injury and played mostly on special teams when he got back.

He finished the season with 15 yards on eight carries.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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