So, last week’s Sports Illustrated was a fantasy football preview issue with new Browns running back Jamal Lewis on the cover. I was giddy and picked it up. I had heard that SI writer Peter King had spent some time at Cleveland training camp. I was expecting a great article about what’s happening in Berea.

The article featured profiles of four NFL training camps – Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Miami, and Indianapolis. Huh? No Cleveland? The article contained exactly a half a sentence about the Browns. Here it is in its entirity, “Other times it is a newly added veteran player, perhaps Jamal Lewis of the Browns or Matt Schaub of the Texans or Nate Clemens of the 49ers, who changes a team’s fortunes.”

So … why is Jamal Lewis on the cover? Why is Browns lineman Ryan Tucker featured on the table of contents page? I don’t get it. I feel baited and switched.

Bandwagon, Wait for Me

Colin Cowherd, ESPN radio guy, says that it is ok to be a bandwagon fan. His reasoning goes something like this – Successful people are busy, with a lot going on in their lives, way too much, in fact, to devote hours a day to the interminably long basketball and baseball seasons. If something exciting happens in those sports or when the playoffs and championships roll around, busy people want to get interested, it’s ok and nothing to be ashamed of. They can even root with passion and desire without guilt for not being a diehard fan.

Well, as is well documented, I am a diehard fan of the Cleveland Browns. I always have been and always will be. When (not if) the Browns play in a Super Bowl, it will not be a bandwagon experience for me.

But, I am not nearly as diehard about the rest of Cleveland sports. Even so, I am climbing on the Cavs/Lebron James bandwagon right now. He is freaking amazing, certainly the most compelling NBA player since Michael Jordan (who made me a bandwagon Bulls fan in the 90s), even though he reminds me more of Magic Johnson (who made me a bandwagon Lakers fan in the 80s).

So, as a sports fan from Cleveland – documented today on NPR and MSN as being a miserable place to be a fan – all I can say is “GO CAVS.” Let’s end that 43 year championship draught in our very own Mistake by the Lake.

The Draft is Saturday

I love the NFL draft. The Browns pick third this year.

Let me just admit up front what part of me hopes for. Part of me hopes that they suck next year. I partially want them to take Joe Thomas this year, hire Bill Cowher as head coach next offseason, and then take Darren McFadden in next year’s draft. I think that would lead to great success for a long time.

However, given the choice between that and being good immediately, I would take being good immediately.

I think that Joe Thomas is the safest pick for them. He is a bruising left tackle from Wisconsin. Football is won and lost on the lines, and the Browns since their reincarnation have not been able to sustain quality offensive line play. Thomas is a potential perrennial Pro Bowler who could anchor the o-line for a decade. He’s not flashy, but he’s the guy who would make me most satisfied.

I am warming to the idea of Brady Quinn, but I am gunshy about picking a quarterback in the first round. I also am still hopefully that Charlie Frye does not suck. If Quinn is the guy, I’ll back him, but I am leary. Hopefully Charlie Weiss is right when he recommended him to Romeo Crennel.

I have soured on Adrian Peterson, but I could be back on board quickly if he is the pick. People have compared him to Eric Dickerson. I wouldn’t mind having an ED like player on the Browns. But can the line block for him?

I know little about Calvin Johnson except that everyone says he is the best player in the draft. I like the receving core of Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow Jr, and Johnson, but I worry that this kind of experiment didn’t work for the Lions, so why should it work for the Browns.

So, there’s my analysis. At least in April, everyone’s got hope.

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