Griffith led team in tackles

CLEVELAND -- Safety Robert Griffith was released Monday by
the Cleveland Browns, as new coach Romeo Crennel continued his
overhaul of the team.

Griffith, who was due a roster bonus on Wednesday, spent three
seasons in Cleveland, which signed him as a free agent in 2002
after eight years with the Minnesota Vikings. The 34-year-old led
the Browns with 157 tackles last season.

However, Griffith's age and Crennel's intention to upgrade the
Browns up the middle made him expendable.

"After three years in Cleveland, the Browns and I have decided
that it is in both of our best interests that I become a free
agent," Griffith said in a statement released by the team.

Griffith started 44 games for the Browns, finishing with 408
tackles, six interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one sack.
However, the club didn't get the production it had hoped out of him
until last season.

"I know Robert has been the consummate professional as a member
of the Cleveland Browns the last three years," Crennel said.

Griffith's departure is the latest move by Crennel to remake the
Browns, who are coming off a disastrous 4-12 season. Last week, the
Browns gave defensive tackle Gerard Warren and running back William Green permission to seek trades.

The Browns also have been in contract talks with quarterback
Kelly Holcomb, who can become a free agent on Wednesday. Holcomb's
agent, Frank Bauer, met with Crennel and general manager Phil
Savage during the NFL combine last weekend in Indianapolis.

Bauer reportedly did not like the Browns' initial offer to the
injury-prone Holcomb, who has been with Cleveland for three years.
If the sides can't reach an agreement by Wednesday, Holcomb will
test the free-agent market.