Browns CEO Joe Banner emphasized — and it’s worth quoting Banner over and over because it’s more than obvious he’s calling the football shots — that he wants a young team.
Jimmy Johnson used to say that too.
Johnson said he wanted young guys who did it his way, not guys who wanted to do it the way they did it with someone else. “I”m not interested in how others guys do it,” Johnson said.
The term blind loyalty comes to mind.
Banner has other reasons for focusing on youth. “Your ability to stay healthy in particular is greatly enhanced by understanding that it’s basically a young man’s game,” he said.
What this means for Phil Dawson remains to be seen. Dawson has proven he is really ageless.
What it means for Sheldon Brown and Ben Watson and probably even Josh Cribbs is pretty evident. Don’t expect them back.
Banner did, though, dispute the claim that he always let veteran players go in Philadelphia. He pointed out that yes, he did let Brian Dawkins go at the age of 36, a move that turned out to be extremely unpopular.
But Banner said he re-signed Dawkins at 30 and 32 and 34 — then let him go at 36.
“That may have been right or wrong,” he said. “But people thought I didn’t sign any players who are over 30. That’s just a complete myth. That’s not what I did.”
Ask any ex-Eagle, though, and they’ll go down a lengthy list of veteran players let go by Banner and the Eagles (Brown, Lito Shepherd, Dawkins, Troy Vincent, etc.).
But he has his plan and with respect to the Pope he doesn’t claim his plan is infallible. But he sure plans on following it.
“You’d like to get to the point where we have a lot of players on both units that are going to be on the team for two or three years together, and then you kind of keep supplementing them as opposed to starting from scratch,” he said.