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Trade bakes support by Browns fans for Carolina

It was a big week for sports news.

No, not “Steelers-win-another-Super Bowl” big, but still pretty big.

Our sad Cleveland Guardians (still known affectionately as the “Tribe” to my husband and me) got swept over four games by the Tigers.

The equally struggling Pirates took out their frustrations on the World Series-bound Yankees Tuesday, albeit, the celebration in Pittsburgh was short lived after the Yankees took revenge 16-0 the very next night, splitting the short, nearly sold-out series.

Thursday, in a surprise move during the Russian criminal trial being followed worldwide, American WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner, 31, pleaded guilty to drug-possession charges. She could face up to 10 years in a Russian jail cell.

But perhaps the biggest story of all these — at least in my divided household — is the Browns’ trade of former No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers.

Football fans have been anticipating that move, although I know my die-hard Browns fan husband secretly was wishing that somehow the Browns would find a way to unload their controversial new quarterback Deshaun Watson and keep Baker in Cleveland. If they did that, not only could Baker prove naysayers wrong about his caliber, but the player also could keep sharing with TV viewers light-hearted tales from his home in FirstEnergy Stadium and next-door neighbor of rocker Alice Cooper, who apparently lives in Cleveland’s Rock Hall of Fame.

Alas, we all knew that never would come to fruition.

I’m a die-hard Steeler fan, but I’ve been reading about the Baker-Watson topic voraciously over the past months since the Browns’ blockbuster move.

During that time, my hubby, bitter ever since his team picked up an embattled QB with such ugly baggage, has tuned out on Browns news.

From what I’ve read, rumor has it that NFL ownership is less than pleased with the Browns’ decision to award Watson such a– let’s be kind and call it “outlandish” — groundbreaking contract with all guaranteed money. The five-year, $230 million contract with a no-trade clause sets an outrageous precedent, especially as other high-level QBs like LaMar Jackson also head toward a new contract.

I first got word of Baker’s official trade after weeks of rumor via a news alert on my newsroom computer Wednesday afternoon.

I sent a quick message in my family group chat (we all are rabid sports fans) about the announcement.

“Browns just traded Baker to Carolina,” I tapped quickly.

My husband’s response was abrupt. “Go Panthers.”

Sad how the passion he had only a year ago had dissipated.

Watson’s acquisition came with heavy controversy not just because of the price tag. He remains at the center of dozens of sexual misconduct allegations, and an NFL investigation likely will lead to a lengthy, if not indefinite, league suspension.

By offloading Baker, Watson’s expected suspension will leave the Browns with no starting-caliber quarterback.

As a Steelers fan who just watched her future Hall-of-Fame quarterback hang up his cleats, I admit, I was a little concerned about facing division rival Browns this year.

Autumn Sundays can be, well, interesting at my house. Over the past several years, though, they’ve been much more pleasant for me than for my other half. With the Browns’ threatening new lineup, I was wondering how long that trend might continue.

Then suddenly, as if a gift from above, those typically hapless Browns seem to have pulled off yet another colossally illogical decision by exchanging the high-spirited, competitive Mayfield — the only QB to lead the Browns to the playoffs in nearly two decades — to Carolina, in exchange for only a conditional fifth-round pick and an agreement to pay more than $10 million of Baker’s high salary next year.

With Watson’s questionable future, no one is quite sure what the Browns plan to do this year.

The Wall Street Journal this week said the deal “demonstrates how the Browns miscalculated on-the-field when they brought in Watson.”

I sure hope the Mayfields have really nice new neighbors at home in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

Go Steelers. Go Panthers.

blinert@tribtoday.com

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