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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Strange day for the Browns

By James Walker

BEREA, Ohio -- As the first player showed at the Cleveland Browns training facility Tuesday, team president Mike Holmgren drove into a parking lot filled with media and had to veer around the mob to get to his parking space.

This was is an unprecedented and strange day for the Browns -- and the NFL in general. The lockout was temporarily lifted. But without a collective bargaining agreement in place, Browns players showed up for work with a lot of unknowns.

Browns tight end Ben Watson, former Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs and punter Reggie Hodges arrived at the facility shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. But players said security cut off certain parts of the building and withheld them from working out.

"It's really disappointing," Cribbs said. "I came here in workout clothes. I came to the Browns facility to try to work out. I want to get back to work. We have a long road ahead."

Browns players also were not given playbooks or allowed to have any contact with coaches and the front office. An appeal to Monday's ruling is expected, which will create further uncertainty.

A case can be made that the Browns are one of the teams most hurt by the lockout. This offseason Cleveland has to install new West Coast offense, a new 4-3 defense and has a rookie head coach (Pat Shurmur) and inexperienced quarterback (Colt McCoy).

"We don’t know what's going to happen," Watson said of the next move. "There's a lot more legal stuff to go on. But we got a lot of work to do."