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

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group