TERRY COLUMN: Brock out of a hard place

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There was a hint sent out Wednesday that Brock Osweiler may be out of football purgatory.

Ever since he was traded on March 10 from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns, Osweiler has been stuck in a staredown between a bereft franchise and its future.

The Browns were the worst team in the NFL last season, claiming their one win last season on a missed field goal by the other team.

Cleveland, not unlike the Texans last summer, have been without a proven quarterback for most of their time since reemerging as a franchise in 1999. They could use a quarterback like Osweiler, even with all his flaws, because the alternatives aren’t any better. Yet, they still want a younger option with more unrealized potential.

Upon completing the trade for Osweiler, which sent a fourth-round pick in next weekend’s NFL Draft to Houston for a second-round pick next year, a sixth-round pick this year and the ability to take on Osweiler and his big contract, Cleveland said openly it didn’t want Brock on their team.

In fact, according Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, they hinted the team took on Brock to get the picks that Houston offered and were looking to trade him for more picks or let him go should that not happen.

Which left Osweiler stuck.

He had a job, or at least a guaranteed contract, but no place that wanted him to actually play. Worse, as the names of flashy free agents loomed in the distance, he needed to wait to see if he’d be on the move again.

Nothing changed and none of those free agents have moved so far, save for one announcing his retirement. The crop of college quarterbacks has been evaluated, interviews and processed endlessly since.

Now, as the draft looms and the picture of who may be available to Cleveland becomes clearer, the Browns have changed their stance, if only slightly.

At a press conference discussing the draft on Wednesday, Cleveland general manager Sashi Brown opened up when asked about Brock’s position with the team.

“We expect Brock to be here,” Brown said.

“He is in and has done a good job coming in the first couple of days. He is a positive young man who has some ability and talent. We look forward to him trying to establish himself here and have a chance to compete to be the starting quarterback.”

That comment came at the beginning of the conference that also hinted the Browns would not be adding a veteran free agent quarterback and they may also be leaning toward taking a quarterback with one of their picks next weekend.

Of course, any comment at this time of year should be taken with a grain of salt. General managers like to use their public comments before the draft to gauge interest around the league or to set a smokescreen that would hide their true intentions next week.

It could be that the Browns haven’t received the offers they were hoping in exchange for Brock. It could be that they have received offers but are waiting to still trade him during next week’s draft, when teams are more willing to make moves. It could be that since he’s been in the building with the team that Brock has shown his worth and the ability to take over the starting job on the shores of Lake Erie.

Whatever it is, there’s hints that Brock’s immediate future is likely in Cleveland.

While he shouldn’t run out looking for houses right away, it looks like, at minimum, local fans have an answer to where he will be playing next year.

Now, we’ll see if the Browns will stick to their word.

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