2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns fall to Steelers in finale, 24-10

By CHRIS ADAMSKI - Associated Press
    2012-12-30 17:34

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur addressed his team a little longer than usual after it closed its season with a 24-10 loss to the rival Steelers.

One player said he thought Shurmur was fighting back tears. Another said he had a personal message. Many reported that the second-year coach told the players how proud he was of them.

None would acknowledge, directly, that they expect Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert to be fired on Monday.

But as receiver Joshua Cribbs said, the players on the 5-11 Browns aren't entirely oblivious, either.

``It's the NFL, this is business,'' Cribbs said. ``It's not necessarily the feel...

``You just know.''

Cleveland's third-string quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, passed for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his first NFL start. But the Browns dropped their third straight in what is likely Shurmur's final game on the sideline.

Shurmur insisted he had not spoken to owner Jimmy Haslam or CEO Joe Banner ``for quite some time'' and that he planned on conducting routine season-ending meetings and exit interviews with his players on Monday.

But the second-year coach also was also somewhat emotional and defiant in what very well could end up his final postgame press conference as Cleveland's head coach.

Shurmur pointed and said, ``The future is bright for that group of guys,'' at one point. He later dismissively told reporters, ``You need to call your league sources,'' when asked about his job status.

``I'm looking forward to this team next year if that's the case,'' Shurmur said. ``If not, then what I'm going to do is help coach and help inspire a team to win games in some role. I have kids in college, I have mouths to feed - and this is my profession and this is what I choose to do. That's it. That is how simple it is in my mind.''

Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, denying Cleveland its first sweep of the AFC North rival Steelers since 1988. Pittsburgh won for only the second time in its past seven games to avoid its first losing season since 2003.

Antonio Brown, Leonard Pope and Plaxico Burress scored for the Steelers (8-8), whose top-ranked defense forced four turnovers.

Pittsburgh will sit out the postseason for the first time since 2009, but the Browns extended their run of non-playoff seasons to 10.

The overhaul in Cleveland is already underway. Haslam, who took over as owner in late summer, pushed out team president Mike Holmgren last month, and it appears Shurmur and Heckert could soon follow Holmgren out the door.

``It's safe to say there have been rumors since the beginning of training camp,'' Shurmur said. ``We really didn't win enough games, and we're not competing next week (in the playoffs). I was never really worried about (job security) and I have no regrets.''

The Browns are 9-23 under Shurmur, the lone highlight a three-game winning streak spanning late November and early December that had some in Cleveland doing the complicated math necessary to put the Browns in the playoffs.

The optimism died just as quickly as it arose. Cleveland came back to Earth in a 38-21 whipping at the hands of the Washington Redskins two weeks ago, followed by a blowout loss in Denver. Given a chance to sweep their biggest rivals for the first time in 24 years, the Browns instead lost to the Steelers in the regular-season finale for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

``You just wish you could go out with a win for him,'' linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said.

Many of the players also auditioning for jobs next year, the Browns played a lively, chippy game against their rivals that included plenty of pushing and shoving after the whistle and during play.

Shurmur, injecting a bit of risk-taking in a tenure filled with playing it safe, called a fake punt from the Cleveland 25 early in the third quarter that Ray Ventrone turned into a 35-yard gain, equaling the team's longest run of the season.

The Browns tied it at 10 a few plays later when Lewis hit Little for a 7-yard touchdown pass.

That about did it for Cleveland. The Steelers responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Roethlisberger hitting Brown for a 9-yard score that put the Steelers back in front.

``I think it was important to end our season the way we wanted to end it,'' Pittsburgh running back Jonathan Dwyer said.

The Browns failed to do so, though not for a lack of trying. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin fumbled while trying to fight for extra yardage in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh's Cortez Allen picked up the ball and returned it to the Cleveland 27. Six plays later, Roethlisberger found Burress for a 12-yard TD.

Josh Gordon's fumble late in the second quarter led to Pope's touchdown.

``We had two fumbles by rookie receivers today that led to 14 points,'' Shurmur said. ``Typically, rookies learn something new every time they play. I'm not saying that as an excuse, but we just didn't win enough games.''

Cornerback Joe Haden said Shurmur's postgame remarks ``didn't feel like a goodbye.'' But by all accounts, they held a heart-felt tone.

``To me, he was trying to hold back tears,'' Jackson said. ``He put everything into it, and we were trying to do something that hadn't been done since 1988. With everything else that's looming over his head, it's tough. He's in a tough spot. The players appreciate it. We'll run through a brick wall for him; it's just too bad we couldn't get a win for him.''

NOTES: Polamalu's interception was his first of the season and 30th of his career ... Phil Dawson's 51-yard field goal in the second quarter tied for the second-longest in Heinz Field history ... Lewis was the 18th different quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999 ... Roethlisberger is 7-0 at home against the Browns ... Cribbs passed Dennis Northcutt as the team's all-time leader in punt return yardage.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:33a

Buffalo Bills QBs Jeff Tuel and Thaddeus Lewis are alternating series with the second unit in team drills Tuesday, July 22.

Tyler BrayJul 22 09:13a

Kansas City Chiefs QBs Tyler Bray and Chase Daniel are likely to compete for one roster spot with QB Aaron Murray likely to make the team behind starting QB Alex Smith.

Navorro BowmanJul 22 12:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) will likely return to action in Week 9 after the team's Week 8 bye, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Jacques McClendonJul 21 11:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars OG Jacques McClendon is the frontrunner to start at right guard heading into training camp, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. OG Brandon Linder is the other candidate for the starting job.

Aaron ColvinJul 21 10:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Aaron Colvin (knee) will begin training camp and the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate [ More ]

Jeromy MilesJul 21 10:03p

Baltimore Ravens S Jeromy Miles has seen some reps with the first-team defense this offseason and is a dark horse candidate to win the starting free safety job, according to ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley.

Brandon MosleyJul 21 09:43p

New York Giants OT Brandon Mosley will be given the first chance to start in place of OG Chris Snee when the first-team offensive line takes the field Tuesday, [ More ]

T.J. GrahamJul 21 09:23p

Buffalo Bills WR T.J. Graham had a pass fall through his hands after beating his defender on a deep route in camp Monday, July 21.ESPN.com's Mike Rodak believes Graham [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsJul 21 09:02p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins made several big plays in practice Monday, July 21, according to ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. Watkins beat CB Leodis McKelvin deep, hauled in a pass [ More ]

Marvin JonesJul 21 07:03p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder), WR Marvin Jones (ankle) and CB Onterio McCalebb (knee) have been placed on the Non-Football Injury list.

Devon StillJul 21 07:03p

Cincinnati Bengals OG Clint Boling (knee), LB Marquis Flowers (hamstring), P Kevin Huber (neck), WR Colin Lockett (hamstring), DT Zach Minter (back), DT Devon Still (back) and WR Ryan [ More ]

Cordy GlennJul 21 06:53p

Buffalo Bills OT Cordy Glenn (illness) does not have a timetable for his return at this point, according to head coach Doug Marrone. 'I don't know that. It's a [ More ]

Mike CaussinJul 21 06:43p

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent TE Mike Caussin (Bills). Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived LS Kyle Nelson.

Cheta OzougwuJul 21 06:32p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) and DT John Jenkins (pectoral) have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Brennan WilliamsJul 21 06:22p

Houston Texans OT Brennan Williams (undisclosed) has been waived with a failed physical designation.

Brian CushingJul 21 06:22p

Houston Texans DT Louis Nix (undisclosed), LB Brian Cushing (undisclosed) and LB Trevardo Williams (undisclosed) have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Eric HaggJul 21 06:13p

Denver Broncos SS Eric Hagg has informed the team that he has decided to retire from professional football.

Dominique EasleyJul 21 05:23p

New England Patriots DT Dominique Easley, RB Roy Finch, LB Deontae Skinner and OT Chris Martin have been placed on the team's non-football injury list.

Alfonzo DennardJul 21 05:23p

New England Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), WR Aaron Dobson (foot), WR Jeremy Gallon (undisclosed), DT Tommy Kelly (knee) and WR Matthew Slater (undisclosed) will begin training camp on [ More ]

Leon HallJul 21 05:12p

Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) and CB Leon Hall (Achilles') will begin training camp on the team's physically unable to perform list.

Jon BeasonJul 21 05:12p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot) will begin training camp on the team's physically unable to perform list.

John JerryJul 21 05:02p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (leg), OG John Jerry (knee) and WR Mario Manningham (knee) will be limited when training camp starts.

Kraig UrbikJul 21 04:33p

Buffalo Bills OT Chris Hairston and OG Kraig Urbik saw first-team repetitions at right guard Monday, July 21.

Dezmon BriscoeJul 21 04:03p

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent WR Dezmon Briscoe (Redskins), according to his agent. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Phillip HuntJul 21 03:12p

Former Philadelphia Eagles DE Phillip Hunt (knee) has recovered from anterior cruciate ligament surgery and should begin workouts with teams in the near future.

Chris ConteJul 21 02:12p

Chicago Bears FS Chris Conte said he feels good as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but is unsure of his availability for the start of training camp. He could [ More ]

Alameda Ta'amuJul 21 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals DT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) and FS Tyrann Mathieu (knee) are candidates to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp.

David WilsonJul 21 01:42p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) should be able to help the offense if he is able to stay healthy this upcoming season, according to former offensive coordinator [ More ]

Chris SneeJul 21 01:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OG Chris Snee has officially announced his retirement from professional football.

Garrett CelekJul 21 01:22p

San Francisco 49ers TEs Derek Carrier and Garrett Celek will compete for the No. 3 tight end spot during training camp.

De'Anthony ThomasJul 21 01:22p

Kansas City Chiefs RB De'Anthony Thomas spent most of his time with the running backs during practice Monday, July 21. Thomas run a lot of passing routes out of [ More ]

Christopher OwensJul 21 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee), WR Kyle Williams (knee), WR A.J. Jenkins (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (hamstring) participated in practice Monday, July 21.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group