Hallen's future unclear
By Zac Jackson, Staff Writer
August 8, 2006
The Browns are preparing for the possibility they'll be without Bob Hallen for an extended period of time.
It's possible they won't have Hallen at all.
A day after Hallen missed practice with what coach Romeo Crennel called "back issues," Crennel said the Browns' starting center was dealing with "medical and personal issues" and wasn't with the team.
Crennel said the team's options for handling the situation include placing Hallen on the exempt-left team list, which would open a roster spot.
"His issues are enough that I need to investigate that," Crennel said.
What's known is that Hallen practiced Monday morning, didn't practice Monday afternoon, and didn't report to Berea Tuesday. He spoke to Crennel and explained his situation.
"He gave me good enough reason to have some concern on my part," Crennel said.
Hallen, 31, signed with the Browns in March. He moved into the starting lineup when LeCharles Bentley suffered a season-ending knee injury July 27.
When the Browns open the preseason Thursday night in Philadelphia, Alonzo Ephraim will likely be the starting center.
Crennel said the Browns would consider placing Hallen on the exempt-left team list in order to open a roster spot. The team has already signed two free agent centers (Ephraim and Mike Mabry) since camp began, had a third free agent guard/center, Todd Washington, sign then retire, and lost rookie fourth-round pick Isaac Sowells, a guard, to an ankle injury last week.
Behind Ephraim are undrafted rookie Paul Smith, Mabry, and Dave Yovanovits, who was a backup guard last season but can play center if necessary.
The team will explore more free agents, potential trades and scan the waiver wire in the coming weeks, but Crennel said they'll be conscious of the cost of giving up a player or draft picks.
"We've discussed our options and a potential plan of attack," Crennel said.
OIC. The new starting center has been with the team for 2 weeks.
Sound really fishy... Like the doctor discovered a VD or something.