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Browns struggle to develop an exit strategy for Colt McCoy

Jun 15, 2012 -- 6:00am

By Tony Grossi

The Morning Kickoff …

So long, Colt: “That’s football.”

Those two words stated by Browns President Mike Holmgren on Thursday pretty much size up the Colt McCoy era in Cleveland.

I can still hear McCoy saying of Holmgren, “He told me I’m his guy.” Of course, it’s the NFL, meaning Not For Long.

Let’s put Holmgren’s statement in perspective. It came at the end of a long answer to the question: Did McCoy get a fair shake last year?

Holmgren began by affirming, yes, of course, McCoy had a tough set of circumstances thrown at him. The poor guy had no supporting cast and then was unknowingly sent back into the Pittsburgh game after suffering a severe concussion. McCoy still walks around in a fog.

“Essentially, we lost our running game early on, and we had some things to deal with there,” Holmgren said. “We dropped too many passes. That’s another thing. It was hard. He got knocked around. He got banged pretty good. But a lot of times, it’s not fair. It’s not always fair.

“But what he did get, he got a chance to play a whole year. You learned how does he deal with this, and then as a coach or a teacher, then you have to take the things that I just mentioned into consideration … that it was hard, maybe harder than we thought it was going to be.

“But how did we handle it? Did we get better? Did we handle it well? Those types of things are the things that you have to answer. Be very honest about how you feel about that. That’s how you move forward, I think.

“I like Colt McCoy. I’ve made no secrets about that. I think he’s a wonderful young man, and a good football player. And if you are asking me to say was it fair last year? He had a tough go and he didn’t get as much help as I thought he was going to get. But heck, that’s football.”

Thanks for the effort.


When will it happen?: The Browns have to prepare 28-year-old rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to open the season Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He will get the bulk of snaps in training camp.

So what to do about McCoy and Seneca Wallace? Wallace, who knows Holmgren better than any of the Browns, said he doesn’t see McCoy and him co-existing on the final roster.

Holmgren said “right now” the plan is not to trade or release the third wheel.

“That’s not to say we might change something, but right now, no,” he said. “Right now, they are all practicing very hard. Our quarterback position is a strong position, in my opinion.

“Something might happen as we approach training camp or during the training camp season.”

Devising an exit strategy: When Weeden was drafted, I was told by an NFL source that the Browns didn’t want to “pile on” McCoy and just release him. They were sensitive to the fact he had gotten such a raw deal already.

They would like to find McCoy a new team, a new opportunity, to spare him the ignominy of being released. They will not demand much in a trade.

“Right now, we have three quarterbacks that are going,” Holmgren said. “Between now and the time we play our first ballgame against the Eagles, I would ask you, you shouldn’t be surprised by anything. We are going to be talking to teams about a lot of different things, not just the quarterback situation. That’s what happens and then as you approach the regular season, when you get to final cutdown, there is a lot of action that takes place.

“I think you are open to listen to every phone call. You talk about stuff. If we think it’s a good thing to make the Cleveland Browns better, then we would consider it.”

My hope is that a dome-based team, or one in a sunny, warm climate, calls the Browns and offers a future conditional draft pick for McCoy. That would be best for him and the Browns.

Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi


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