Can Browns heal a heartbroken city?

July, 9, 2010
7/09/10
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Cleveland is a city that is no stranger to heartbreak. Whether it's "The Drive," "The Fumble," "The Shot" or being championship-deprived since 1964, northeastern Ohio has suffered misfortune time after time.

LeBron James
Rich Arden/ESPNLeBron James announced Thursday night that he would not re-sign with the Cavaliers.
But LeBron James leaving Cleveland Thursday cuts the city deeper than most. James was a homegrown talent, a prodigy from nearby Akron who was expected to end Cleveland's lengthy title drought.

Things didn't turn out as planned and James bolted to the Miami Heat in a quest to secure his legacy and win multiple championships. With the Cleveland Cavaliers now left to pick up the pieces, can the Browns do their part this year to heal the city's heartbreak?

There isn't much that could help Cleveland get over James' decision. But a surprising playoff run by the Browns in 2010 might do the trick.

Cleveland is a football town first. Only the Browns' struggles since 1999 combined with a once-in-a-generation basketball talent were able to challenge that. But with James now in South Beach, it's official the Browns are the unquestioned biggest game in town once again.

Perhaps James' decision to leave places added pressure on the Browns. But it's also a golden opportunity for Mike Holmgren and Eric Mangini & Co. to unify a struggling city that's experienced another reason not to believe in its sports teams.

Can the Browns pull it off?

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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