Pettine will need a sense of humor

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  • This is by no means a scientific study, but my guess is there are 10 Cleveland Browns fans for every one Detroit Lions fan in our area.


    At least they are heard on a 10-to-1 ratio. Maybe that’s because wailing makes more noise than gnashing teeth.

    With these two NFL franchises you sort of pick your poison. (Arsenic and cyanide are reportedly both effective, although arsenic might give you time to change your mind and become, say, a Colts fan.)

    Anyway, considering the fan ratio, the biting wind, the forecast for more snow, the Jim Harbaugh reports, Johnny Manziel draft speculation, and D’Qwell Jackson’s exit, it seems like a good day to write about the Brownies.

    As you know, the owner recently took a broom to the front office and the team has a new head coach and a new general manager.

    The latter, Ray Farmer, seems ready for the job. He spoke for 20 minutes or so last weekend at the NFL combine and reporters scribbled and realized later that he’d said absolutely nothing. Perfect.

    Mike Pettine, the coach, appears to have a sense of humor, which should come in handy in this job.

    It is believed the Browns tried to trade draft picks for a coach — the 49ers’ Harbaugh — before settling on Pettine. If so, good for them. Going that far outside the box signals a pulse. The Browns have not denied said reports.

    Pettine was asked about this. The guy has to know he was at least the team’s third or fourth choice to begin with. It neither hurts nor affects him if Harbaugh was atop his name, too.

    “Well, I got a phone call saying that report was about to come out,” Pettine said. “I shot the messenger a little bit because I asked, ‘How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?’ I think that my next sentence used the word ‘flying’ followed by … a part of a rat’s body. I think that's noise. That's something that has no bearing on my job moving forward. I think a big part of being an NFL head coach is dealing with the noise, dealing with the distractions, [so] just add that one to the list.”

    As for Manziel, no less than ESPN’s Ron Jaworski is cautioning teams to stay far, far away from the Texas A&M quarterback in the first round. Former Cowboys coach Barry Switzer had some thoughts, too, but we can’t use the word he did in a family newspaper. Well, we can use arrogant, just not the word that followed it.

    Nothing would shock me, but I’d be mildly surprised if the Browns dallied with Manziel only because they must know they can’t afford any risks in this draft.

    Finally, I was sorry to see Jackson released ahead of a cutoff date when he would have received a $4 million roster bonus. I understand the financial realities and the flexibility it gives the Browns in re-signing their free agents. I understand Jackson has slipped in the linebacker rankings. I know Cleveland didn’t often win with him and can replace him more cheaply.

    But he’s a pro and a natural leader who helped keep a chaotic clubhouse in check. He answered the call and when he couldn’t, thanks to torn pectoral muscles that twice needed surgical repair, he worked his tail off to get back. Guys like that are hard to replace.

    Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: or 419-724-6398.