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  • Sharing his knowledge

    By: Cliff Smelley, Telegraph Staff Writer July 01, 2004

    Cleveland Browns player Gerard Warren hosts a football clinic for kids in the area.

    He was a first-round NFL draft choice and is preparing to enter his fourth year as a starter on the defensive line for the Cleveland Browns, yet Gerard Warren, a 1997 Union County High School graduate, looks at Bennie Alexander and admits he's a little jealous.

    Why? Because Alexander, a former teammate of Warren's at UCHS and the University of Florida, is an assistant coach at UCHS. Warren, who is also known as "Big Money," said coaching one day is something that interests him.

    "I want to share the knowledge that was shared with me," he said.

    Warren, the 25-year-old son of Charles and Joann Warren of Raiford, settled for sharing that knowledge during a football clinic on June 25 at Citizens Field in Gainesville. The clinic, which is being planned as an annual event, was attended by more than 50 youth ages 8-17.

    "We had a fairly decent turnout and things went quite well aside from the Florida heat," Warren said.

    The clinic was cut short because of how hot it was. Still, the youth who attended participated in basic football drills and interacted with Warren and other former UF players, including Andra Davis (a teammate of Warren's in Cleveland), Jabar Gaffney, Terry Jackson, Bobby McCray and Mike Nattiel. Some fun games and activities were also in the mix among the drills and the clinic concluded with an autograph-signing session.

    Warren said the main thing he wanted to accomplish with the clinic was to allow kids to have a good time. He was satisfied to "see them go home with a smile on their face and know that they enjoyed themselves."

    Warren has some free time now before reporting for the start of training camp on July 30. As he reflects back upon how he has changed from his rookie year in the NFL, Warren said he has become better at recognizing plays by an opposing team's offense throughout the course of a game as well as maturing both as a player and a person.

    "The first year, to me, was like high school-just playing football and having fun," Warren said.

    Cleveland was 7-9 during Warren's rookie season, then finished 9-8 in 2002 with a playoff berth. However, the Browns struggled last season, winning only five games.

    The Browns' defense finished last season ranked 15th (out of 32 teams) in the league, allowing 309.9 yards per game. The defense allowed 14 points or less in eight games, yet the team's offense averaged only 15.9 points per game and finished ranked 26th in the league. Cleveland hopes to upgrade its offense with the addition of such players as quarterback Jeff Garcia (free agent from San Francisco) and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (first-round draft choice out of the University of Miami).

    Still, there is some pressure on the defense to improve. The team will enter the season with four first-round draft choices, including Warren, on the defensive line. Warren said the defense just needs to become a cohesive unit, but he added, with a sound of frustration in his voice, that is hard to accomplish in the NFL nowadays.

    "Free agency breaks down a team's chemistry," he said. "Every year brings in somebody new."

    Warren said he is optimistic about his team's chances with the additions through free agency and the draft. He likens the Browns to the Union County Tigers after the 1996 season-desperately wanting to get back to the state championship game. The Tigers, following three consecutive berths in the state finals, went seven years before making it back to the championship game.

    Cleveland, like those UCHS teams during that span, is hungry for a shot at a title.

    "That's the spirit of the team right now," Warren said.

    For his part, Warren just wants to play his best and make the people of Union County proud of him. One can detect the love Warren has for Union County in his voice. He especially has fond memories of playing football at Union County High School and for former head coach Robby Pruitt.

    Pruitt helped him as much as anybody to play in the NFL, Warren said. Work ethic, determination, focus, integrity, character-Warren said he learned it all from Pruitt.

    Warren said he has had a great relationship with all of his coaches over the years. Bradford High School assistant coach Steve Hoard, who was Warren's position coach at UCHS and who gave him the nickname "Big Money," was like a brother to him, Warren said. In fact, Hoard and every other coach he's had (including his current coaches) have shown care for Warren not just as a player, but as a human being.

    "All of my coaches have been great," Warren said.

    Union County head coach Buddy Nobles was the defensive coordinator at UCHS when Warren played there. Nobles watched Warren terrorize opposing teams' quarterbacks, but should Nobles be watching his own back now? Warren said he'd love to return to UCHS one day and become the head football coach.

    "He better keep an eye on me," Warren said of Nobles.

    You can almost hear Warren chuckling to himself when he says this, knowing that he really doesn't want to take a job at Nobles' expense. Yet in the same breath, Warren sounds serious about becoming a coach one day. When that day will come, if it comes, is uncertain, but Warren knows his playing days won't last forever. He knows his career could end the next time he steps onto the field.

    "I tell people I'm one play away from never playing again," he said.

    Fortunately, Warren has not sustained any major injuries during his career. Warren, who was the third overall choice in the 2001 draft, has appeared in 47 games with the Browns, starting all but one. He has 130 (109 solo) tackles and 12.5 quarterback sacks during his career.

    Last season, Warren had 32 tackles, 25 of which were solo. He was second on the team with a career-best 5.5 sacks.

    The Cleveland Browns start the 2004 season on Sunday, Sept. 12, when they host Baltimore.
    Curly ~ Horns

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  • RamWraith
    A new start for DHS grad
    by RamWraith
    By Michael Mirer/Enterprise staff writer

    Published Jul 30, 2006

    No one gets excited about training camp.

    So it’s not exactly eagerness that Jason Fisk is feeling as he prepares for his 12th NFL season. But after an unhappy 2005, one in which he was stuck playing out of position for a struggling team, the impending season should feel like a breath of fresh air and a chance to have a new start.

    “It’s a necessary evil before you get to the fun part,” said Fisk, 33. “We’ve got a chance to be a pretty good team.”

    The St. Louis Rams will be the Davis High graduate’s fifth NFL team since he broke into the league with the Vikings in 1996 out of Stanford. He signed with the Rams in June after being granted his release from the Cleveland Browns in April.

    Fisk said he had considered retirement after leaving the Browns.

    In Cleveland, Fisk lost his starting job as a new coaching staff overhauled the team’s defensive alignment, switching from four defensive linemen and three linebackers (4-3) on most plays to the opposite alignment (3-4). In the 4-3, defensive players are asked to attack the backfield.

    In the 3-4, they are generally asked to occupy blockers so the linebackers behind them can make the majority of the tackles. Fisk, who at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds is considered undersized for an NFL defensive tackle, was asked to play nose tackle for the Browns, a position that usually requires an especially enormous player.

    As point of reference, Fisk’s replacement in Cleveland is former Raider Ted Washington, who weighs 365 pounds.

    The Rams offered him the chance to play in a system similar to the one employed by Tennessee, with whom Fisk went to the Super Bowl in 2000. St. Louis’ new coaching staff also wanted him to play as part of a rotation at defensive tackle, taking about 25 snaps per game.

    “That’s a good amount for me,” Fisk said. “Any more than that and my age starts to show.”

    Before the Rams reported for training camp Thursday, Fisk had been around his new teammates once this year, at St. Louis’ mandatory minicamp last month. But he likes the atmosphere so far.

    “You never know how you’re going to fit in coming into a locker room,” Fisk said. “I had some experience when I went back for minicamp. It’s a good group of people, which will make it an easier transition.

    “Everyone’s on their toes a little bit,” he said. “This is actually the third time I’ve come in with a new coaching staff. People watch themselves pretty closely because they don’t really know what to expect.”

    He’s spent his offseason in Davis with his family, working out at Peak Performance Gym and doing his running in the Greenbelt.

    “I’ve done my own program, doing the things that work for me,” Fisk said. “Mostly...
    -07-31-2006, 05:57 AM
  • MauiRam
    Cal Poly LB Millard looking to make the most of a chance with the Rams
    by MauiRam
    By Joe Lyons

    Johnny Millard is no stranger to life in the NFL. But this time, it’s a bit different.

    Millard, a rookie free agent linebacker with the Rams, is the son of Keith Millard, the 1989 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The elder Millard, selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 1984 draft, played a season in the USFL before spending the majority of his nine-year NFL career with the Vikings. He was named to the league’s all-1980s team and still holds the NFL record for sacks by a defensive tackle in a season with 18 in 1989.

    After his playing days, Keith Millard turned to coaching, with stints as an assistant in Denver, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

    “He was a great player and is a great coach, but my dad never put any pressure on me,’’ said Johnny, a 22-year-old from Cal Poly. “There are obviously some expectations, but I like that because it pushes me. I love playing football and have a great relationship with my dad, so it was a blessing to be around him and to learn as much as I did growing up. I’ve been around this game since I was born and even spent a couple of years as a ballboy when my dad (and Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel) were working for the Oakland Raiders.

    “In some ways, this feels very comfortable to me, but I also realize that I’m a free agent who has to work hard every day to prove to the coaches that I belong.’’

    The Millards have talked a couple of times a week during Rams’ OTA workouts, but only a small part of the conversation has dealt with football.

    “I’ve trained Johnny in the past and he knows I’m here for him and that I couldn’t be prouder of him,’’ said Keith, who is sitting out the 2014 season to spend more time with his family in California. “At this point, he needs to make his own path, and the last thing he needs is another coach. The Rams have coaches, very good coaches, and I think it’s important for Johnny to listen and learn from them.

    “Johnny’s strength is his intelligence. He’s a tough kid who understands the game and I’m sure he’s driving the coaches crazy right now, trying to learn all he can about playing linebacker and special teams in the Rams’ system. He’s in a tough spot as a free agent, but that just means he needs to work a little harder and be willing to do the dirty work. With every opportunity he’s given, Johnny needs to rise to the occasion.’’

    Johnny Millard came out of Foothill High in California as an undersized linebacker. He drew some interest from his dad’s alma mater, Washington State, and from San Jose State but opted for Cal Poly, where he was a four-year starter. He finished his career with 300 tackles, which is sixth all-time for the Mustangs.

    In 2012, Millard was a key member of a Cal Poly squad that finished 9-3 overall, earned a share of the Big Sky Conference in its first season in that league and earned a...
    -06-15-2014, 12:20 PM
  • RamsSB99
    Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Shaun Rogers reportedly a no-show
    by RamsSB99
    Friday, March 20, 2009 Mary Kay Cabot
    Plain Dealer Reporter

    Apparently, the feud between Browns Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers and coach Eric Mangini has not been resolved.

    Rogers skipped the first week of the Browns voluntary off-season program, which began Monday, according to Rogers' agent, Kennard McGuire, reached by phone, declined to comment.

    Last month, Rogers asked the Browns to release him from his six-year, $42 million contract after what he felt were two snubs by his new head coach.

    Rogers was also miffed that his first contact from the new regime was a mandate to show up for the off-season program at a prescribed weight, a source said. Rogers felt that because he played hurt the second half of last season and was in compliance with his weight requirement all year, such a command was unnecessary.

    Rogers had asked the Browns not to pay him the $6 million option bonus he was due this month and to release him instead, a source said. But the Browns had no intentions of releasing their top defensive player, a source close to the team said.

    Mangini reportedly has tried to reach out to Rogers, but it is unknown if the two have spoken.

    Although the off-season program is voluntary, Mangini has made it clear he wants everyone to attend. The quickest way to end up in the doghouse of a new head coach is to boycott the optional workouts. The Browns have declined requests to say who's not showing up.

    Rogers was upset that Mangini failed to introduce himself when they were in the media room together at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards Ceremony in January and in the weight room at the Browns facility. Mangini said he didn't see Rogers in the media room and that he was planning on having one-on-ones with all the players once the off-season program began.

    Ivy back:
    The Browns announced the signing of former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy, who spent time with the Browns during training camp in 2000.
    Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but it's one-year deal, according to

    Ivy, who will turn 32 on March 29, is a ninth-year pro who spent the past three seasons with Baltimore.

    Originally signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma in 1999, Ivy (5-9, 190) spent time on their practice squad that year. He signed with Tampa Bay in 2001 and spent four seasons with the Bucs, helping them win a Super Bowl following the 2002 season.

    He spent one season with the Rams before signing with the Ravens in 2006. He's started 21 of his 110 regular season games, recording 209 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three interceptions, 37 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He's also been a mainstay on special teams where he has registered 96 stops. In 2007, he started 13 games for the Ravens and had 63 tackles,...
    -03-21-2009, 09:47 PM
  • MauiRam
    Sunday Blitz ..
    by MauiRam
    A look at low motor players, evaluating pass rushers by production, and all the latest draft rumors.

    Dan Pompei
    April 22, 2012

    One of the most important measurements of draft prospects can’t be done with tape measures, calipers or stopwatches. Measuring a player’s heart is a more abstract assignment, though experienced talent evaluators have tried and true methods they rely on.

    This is how heart is measured at draft time.

    *Game tape.

    It is the ultimate truth, even when dealing with a subjective matter like passion. “You look at how he plays,” a personnel director said. “Is he lazy? Does he finish? Is he physical? Does he quit before the whistle? What is his body language like? What happens when the game is out of hand?”

    Quinton Coples could fall in the draft because NFL teams question how much he wants it.

    The tape on North Carolina’s Quinton Coples could make him drop like a melting icicle on draft day. Despite being one of the most gifted players in the draft at any position, Coples rarely plays like it. “At times you don’t even know he’s in the game,” one general manager said. “He is a lethargic player who goes through the paces.”

    Added a college scouting director, “You can put together a highlight tape that makes him look like the first pick in the draft. But all the plays in between, he gets pushed around.”


    When scouts take their fall visits, they often can be seen at practice quietly talking into tape recorders, jotting down notes on paper or typing into cell phones or tablets. What they really are doing is gathering invaluable information by watching how players prepare. They take notes on how the player warms up, what he does in between plays, and how his practice effort level compares to the effort level of his teammates.

    *Talking to people who know the player.

    The key here is discerning whether or not you are getting snowed. Having solid, long standing relationships with sources at the school—assistant coaches, strength coaches and support staff--is critical.

    It is not unusual for college coaches to be so fed up with a player that they tell NFL teams to stay away. It happened with at least one offensive lineman this year.

    One general manager said in recent weeks, his scouts went back to check on some prospects and spent up to three days in players’ college towns talking with everyone from teachers to townies.

    *Psychological testing.

    Every NFL team does it in some manner, as do many corporate employers. The tests provide pieces of information about what might make players tick and how they tick.

    *Player interviews.

    These can be tricky, especially the 15 minute combine interviews. One scout said Coples explained away his lack of intensity by saying...
    -04-22-2012, 12:45 PM
  • Ramone
    Bernard Scott - New Chief In Town
    by Ramone
    After everyone thought that Bengals theoretically can't get any more 'issue' players, they showed how wrong we were. Here comes the Bernard Scott, running back from Abilene-Christian! Probabation officers must be their best scouts. Here's something about this guy (NY Times).

    He did not play his senior season after being involved in an off-field fight. He has been arrested at least five times and is finishing 18 months of probation for giving false information to a police officer during a traffic stop. He is attending his fourth college since 2003.
    But his explosive ability as a running back has provided ample opportunities for redemption, the latest one at Abilene Christian University. During a 93-68 victory last Saturday against West Texas A&M, Scott accounted for 353 all-purpose yards and 7 touchdowns.
    A 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior, Scott leads N.C.A.A. Division II in scoring (17.5 points a game) and all-purpose yards (248.8). And he is one of eight finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is given to the top player in Division II.
    Although Scott’s talent has never been questioned, his off-field behavior could pose concerns for N.F.L. teams.
    “Some people might hold it against me or whatever,” he said. “But it made me a better person, because I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
    Candid when interviewed about some of his past legal troubles, Scott, 24, failed to mention that he was arrested June 28 on a misdemeanor charge of fleeing a police officer in his hometown, Vernon, Tex. He posted $750 bond, and the case is pending.
    Abilene Christian Coach Chris Thomsen said he was unaware of the incident.
    “I wouldn’t have him on my team or wouldn’t have him on our campus if I didn’t trust the kid,” Thomsen said. “I’ve seen him grow immensely as a football player and a person.”
    After abruptly leaving Southeastern Oklahoma State University following a redshirt season, Scott transferred to the University of Central Arkansas in 2004. He rushed for 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named the Gulf South Conference freshman of the year before being dismissed.
    Central Arkansas Coach Clint Conque said he removed Scott for striking a coach who tried to break up a fight on the field in the spring of 2005. Scott denied that he hit a coach.
    “He’s a tremendous, tremendous football player,” Conque said by telephone. “He hates school, doesn’t trust a lot of people and obviously has some anger issues. I’m hoping that he’s matured some, but he maybe is one of the best pure running backs as far as balance, skills sets, vision and elusiveness.”
    After a stint trimming trees in Florida, Scott returned home in 2005. While there, he said, he did not work and hung out with a rough crowd. “I was just running around doing foolish stuff,” he said.
    Scott resurfaced in 2006 at Blinn College in Texas, where he rushed for 1,892 yards and 27 touchdowns. He was named the most valuable player...
    -04-26-2009, 06:45 PM