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BROWNS As Jamir Miller sits, team officials are losing patience

Published: Tue, April 22, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.

Coach Butch Davis assured the All-Pro that he'd have an important role.

BEREA (AP) -- The Cleveland Browns are running out of time and maybe patience with free agent linebacker Jamir Miller.

Miller, who missed last season with a torn Achilles' tendon, is considering incentive-based contract offers from the Browns and Baltimore Ravens but still hasn't decided which team to sign with.

If he doesn't make up his mind before Saturday's NFL draft, the Browns appear willing to move on with or without their only Pro Bowl player since 1999.

"We're nowhere," Browns president Carmen Policy said Monday of talks with Miller's agent, Leigh Steinberg. "We've had some negotiations and conversations to the point where I really thought that the deal should have been done with the Browns or someone else, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

"There seems to be no sense of urgency on the part of Jamir or his agent."

Need to know

Policy planned to speak with Steinberg again Monday. He said the Browns have made it clear to Miller that they want him to be part of their future, now they need to know if the 29-year-old feels the same way.

The Browns have reportedly offered Miller a one-year deal that includes a $1 million signing bonus and a base salary of $650,000. Playing time and performance incentives could help double the package.

Policy said it was unlikely the Browns would budge from their offer. All Miller has to do now is sign his name to it.

During the negotiations, Browns coach Butch Davis said he has had several phone conversations with Miller. Davis has assured Miller he would have an important playing role.

"We would like to have him back on this team," Davis said. "Hopefully, something positive will come out of it."

Policy indicated that Miller could risk having the Browns reduce or withdraw their offer if he doesn't act quickly.

"We've offered more than has been offered by any other team to this point," Policy said. "Whether we continue to maintain that kind offer depends upon a variety of factors, the most important of which will be Jamir's attitude and desire to return to the Browns."

The upcoming draft may also affect whether the deal gets completed. Policy said there's still a chance the sides could reach an agreement before Saturday.

"We want Jamir back," he said.

"If we were to sense some enthusiasm and a desire to get the thing done quickly, we could have it done tomorrow."

Among the released

Davis released Miller -- along with linebackers Earl Holmes and Dwayne Rudd -- in February as part of a salary-cap dump. At the time, the Browns thought Miller would have a difficult time finding a team willing to spend big money on a player coming off a serious injury.

As it turns out, it looks like they were right.

Miller recorded 13 sacks in 2001 and became the first Browns player to earn a Pro Bowl trip since the team returned to the league. However, he rankled Davis by threatening a contract holdout last summer and then tore his Achilles' in the first exhibition game.

Policy referred to Miller as "a friend" before saying the nine-year pro overestimated his worth and is now facing the realization that he's not going to get a lucrative deal.

Miller also visited Tampa Bay and Kansas City but wasn't offered a contract.

"I think Jamir is a little surprised that the market turned out to be what it is," Policy said. "I think he anticipated that the market would be far more aggressive for his services. I think it's just a matter of him coming to grips with that reality."

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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