|The last we will see of Captain Phil in the Brown and Orange.|
My worst sports nightmare has come true and you are leaving my beloved Cleveland Browns. I'm not going to lie, it makes me sad. To put it in the vernacular of your new San Francisco fans, dude, the move really bums me out.
I don't have to tell you that the Browns have been fighting losing battle since returning in 1999. Each season, hopes for success were obliterated with more coaching/quarterback/wide receiver/running back changes than squirrels running through the Metroparks. As challenging as that has been for you as a player, it has been pretty darn tough as a fan.
Several years ago, I crankily packed up my three Charlie Frye jerseys (home, away and alternate) and my Braylon Edwards jersey after one too many bad plays. That was when I bought my #4 brown jersey. You see Phil, I wanted to wear a jersey of a current player that I could believe in. You were, still are, that guy. While other players were getting their drug fueled groove on in Vegas, you were practicing, preparing for the game. No matter how bad the game was, you always shined. Sure you had a crummy game here and there, but your attitude didn't show that. Even on days that you scored every point on the board, when you were asked to make the impossible kicks, you did it. On the field and off, you have showed nothing but integrity and class to the Browns and the city of Cleveland. And in a world of sports megalomaniacs, you were a refreshing change to cheer for.
Many people have asked me why I pushed Cleveland fans to vote you to the Pro Bowl (let's be honest, it was more like a nudge) and I never had a very good answer. It usually would boil down to me saying I was a big fan, or a similar comment.
The real reason was that I felt it was the least I could do. There is no question you deserved to go to the Pro Bowl, an honor long over looked. If I could play a little part in bringing a little sports justice, why not.
At the end of the day, I just want to say thank you.
Thank you for giving me something to cheer for, a bright spot in the other wise hum drum, dim Browns seasons.
Oh, and thank you for not making the announcement on ESPN with your own half hour special. I don't think my fragile Cleveland heart could have taken it.
Best of luck to you sir.
|Happier days. Now if you will excuse me, I must go weep in the corner.|