Posted on Tue, Aug. 31, 2004
Davis, Browns under siege
Jackson wants out. Boyer is out for year. Garcia is complaining
By Marla Ridenour
Beacon Journal staff writer
BEREA - Running back James Jackson verbalized his ``I want out'' demands, saying he'd rather play in the Canadian Football League than sit on the Browns bench.
Linebacker Brant Boyer, the Browns' special teams captain for the past three years and their most versatile backup, was placed on injured reserve with a broken right foot and will miss the entire season.
When that possibility was raised two weeks ago, Boyer said, ``I don't want to think about going on IR. If I do I won't be a happy person. I'm not ready to trade in my cleats for some pompoms.''
If that wasn't enough for Browns coach Butch Davis, he still had to deal with the fallout of quarterback Jeff Garcia's postgame complaints Saturday. Garcia said he hasn't played enough in the first three preseason games to get the passing game in synch.
All in all, Monday did not seem like a happy day in Berea.
The most stunning words came from Jackson, stuck behind the dynamic duo of Lee Suggs and William Green.
Jackson, who played for Davis at the University of Miami, would like to be traded to the Miami Dolphins or anywhere that he can see extensive playing time in his fourth NFL season. Last week Davis told USA Today that if he couldn't get at least a third-round pick for Jackson, the Browns were better off keeping him.
``The thing is, they don't want to play me here,'' Jackson said. ``If they don't want to play me here, I don't want to be here. I know I haven't been treated fairly here.
``It wouldn't be healthy for me to be here. It wouldn't be in my best interest or their best interest for me to be here.''
Jackson said his unfair treatment started before Green arrived in 2002 and Suggs in 2003.
``Indeed. Definitely. It goes way back,'' Jackson said. ``Everybody wants to sit and say I'm having a great preseason. Go back and watch film. I've been doing this since I've been here. Great preseasons.''
Asked if he'd had enough action to establish his fair market value, Jackson said, ``I honestly don't care. I can go to the freaking CFL as far as I'm concerned.''
Davis spoke only briefly about Jackson, cutting off one question in midsentence.
``I know James is a competitor and he would like a bigger piece of the pie,'' Davis said. ``Certainly given the depth of running back, every single guy when they've gotten their opportunity has played well. I'm sure it's frustrating.''
As for Boyer, Davis said the decision was based on the medical staff's estimate that Boyer might not be able to return until the Oct. 31 bye week. Boyer fractured the fifth metatarsal on his right foot in an Aug. 6 practice against the Buffalo Bills and had hoped to return for the third week of the regular season.
``They had X-rays on Friday and according to the doctors there had not been any significant healing. The crack in the bone was still evident,'' Davis said. ``It's difficult to play seven games short-handed.''
He said he expected players such as Barry Gardner to step up in Boyer's absence. But the Browns' third-year linebackers -- Andra Davis, Kevin Bentley and Ben Taylor -- have lost their mentor.
``He taught me a lot in the two years I've been here. I'm going to miss him,'' Bentley said. ``His experience is invaluable to us. He's played 10 years. There is still so much we haven't seen.''
The biggest story nationally was Garcia, who said after Saturday night's 21-19 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs that throwing six or seven times a game wasn't enough for him to get on the same page with his receivers. The Browns play host to the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale Friday, but Garcia expects to play little.
``Jeff truly wants everything to be perfect,'' Davis said. ``Those traits, his leadership, the passion he plays (with), that's why we wanted him to be the quarterback. That's what training camp is all about. We've made some strides. We're not where we want to be in every phase, but we're going to get better.''
Davis wouldn't say whether he would accommodate Garcia's request to play more than usual against the Bears.
``We're practicing to get better as a football team,'' Davis said. ``Every week there's things we want to accomplish.''