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Holcomb gets new offer



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The team gave William Green and Gerard Warren permission to find trades.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Browns have offered potential free agent quarterback Kelly Holcomb a new contract. The proposals made to Gerard Warren and William Green weren't as flattering.

Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage laid out some of their initial plans to rebuild the Browns on Friday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Among them:

*Re-signing Holcomb. The injury-prone quarterback can become a free agent next week. The club has been in talks with his agent and submitted a contract proposal to him. The Browns also want cornerback Anthony Henry back.

UIn an unusual move, they granted Warren and Green, both underachieving former first-round draft picks of former coach Butch Davis, permission to seek trades. If their agents can work out deals that are suitable for the Browns, they're gone.

UPaying wide receiver/punt returner Dennis Northcutt a $2 million roster bonus next week.

URestructuring defensive end Courtney Brown's contract. He's scheduled to make $5.5 million next season.

UFixing the interior of the offensive line. Savage said that's one of his priorities at the combine.

Holcomb recently said he wanted to return to Cleveland, which signed him as a free agent in 2001.

The 31-year-old, who has been productive when healthy, appears to be the Browns' best option for a quarterback next season since the only other QBs on their roster are raw prospects Luke McCown and Josh Harris.

"We've certainly zeroed in on Kelly," Savage said. "Outside of Kelly, obviously, we have contingency plans but I don't want to go into those names now because our focus remains to be on Kelly."

Browns have No. 3 draft pick

Even if Holcomb is re-signed, the Browns still need to decide on a long-term answer at the position. The club has the No. 3 overall pick in April's draft, and Savage is using time at the combine to evaluate Alex Smith of Utah, Aaron Rodgers of California and Charlie Frye of Akron -- the top college quarterbacks available.

As for Warren, the Browns met with him on Tuesday and told the former No. 3 pick to see if he can find another place to play by Wednesday, when he's due a roster bonus. But Crennel, who is switching the Browns' defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme, hasn't ruled out bringing Warren back, either.

"Whatever is best for the Cleveland Browns, that's what we're going to do," said Crennel, who isn't opposed to moving Warren to defensive end. "We have to look down the road, not only for today but also for tomorrow. I think he can run, he has good things about him. I have no problems coaching him, and I will coach him like any other player on this team.

Savage said the deadline on Warren could be extended.

Green's agent got the same talk. The third-year back's career has been slowed by injuries and personal problems. He was suspended for eight games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy in 2003. Last season, Green lost his starting job to Lee Suggs.

"Let's see what potentially could be out there," Savage said. "And if [Green] comes back to us, we'll try to utilize what he can do."




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