BEREA, Ohio - His future in doubt, Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage is moving ahead with plans for 2009 without knowing if he'll be around to see them through.
Savage, who has come under added scrutiny since sending a profane e-mail to a fan a few weeks ago, said yesterday he hopes to return next season. Last week, Browns owner Randy Lerner said he will wait until January before deciding the future of Savage and coach Romeo Crennel.
"I've got four years left on a contract," said Savage, who joined the Browns in 2005 and is signed through 2012. "I'd love to be able to finish that out. He [Lerner] said everything is under review. I'm an open book. I can walk with my head held high. I think we have done a lot of positive things here. Is the job finished? No.
"I would be disappointed if I was not able to finish it out. I'd like to do that. Only time will tell."
Savage and his staff have begun preparing for free agency and will soon begin work on next year's draft. Savage is pushing ahead.
"Life goes on, business as usual continues," he said.
There's no denying Savage has substantially upgraded the talent on Cleveland's roster. However, he has been criticized for not being visible, and his mishandling of several off-field situations - most notably tight end Kellen Winslow's hospitalization for a staph infection - this season has led to speculation he may be fired following the season.
At 4-8 overall and just 1-6 at home, the Browns have been one of the league's biggest disappointments after just missing the playoffs in 2007. Savage acknowledged his dissatisfaction with his team's record.
"I would say this year will be more the exception than the rule," said Savage, who had not met with Cleveland reporters in nine weeks. "I think we have a lot of good players on this team. When you watch the tape, we have more than enough ability to compete in this league."
Savage cited injuries, dropped passes and inconsistency for a season he described as "difficult." He hopes the younger players take away something from the team's regression.
"Every season is a new season," he said. "It doesn't matter what you did last year. It doesn't matter what you're planning on doing next year. It matters what you're doing today."
Savage caused a stir last week when he seemed to distance himself from Crennel. During a radio interview. Savage pointed out his responsibility was the 53-man roster and it was up to Crennel and his staff to utilize the 45 players who dress for games.
"If I'm going to get involved in those decisions," Savage said, "then I may as well put a headset on and double my salary."
Savage insists he and Crennel have a solid working relationship and disagreements are common in the NFL.
"We're definitely on the same page," Savage said. "We work well together. Romeo and I have a good relationship."
Savage's unchallenged control of Cleveland's 53-man roster is written into his contract, a stipulation that attracted him to the job. There has been growing talk that if he returns he may have to relinquish some of that,
CLEVELAND - Browns quarterback Brady Quinn had two pins surgically inserted into his broken right index finger and said he hopes to begin throwing once they are removed next month.
"In six weeks, once the pins are out, then we'll start to do a minor rehab program," Quinn said on a conference call. "I should be able to throw sometime soon after that."
Quinn broke the tip of his finger in a Nov. 17 game at Buffalo and then made the injury worse by playing the following week against Houston.
Ken Dorsey will start Sunday against the Titans (11-1). It will be his first start since 2005 for San Francisco, but Quinn is confident Dorsey, who went 38-2 as a starter in college, will play well.
"Ken Dorsey is a baller," Quinn said. "He didn't win all those games in college for no reason. I expect him to go out there and be one of the best prepared quarterbacks in the league and I'm looking for him to throw up some big numbers."