Last night, I figured I would post a story sometime today to highlight the triumphant return of LeCharles Bentley. When I woke up, the weather was really nice, so I decided to postpone the story until I did some laundry and cut the grass. Then, I came inside and saw that the Rotoworld feed here on Dawgs By Nature stated that Bentley had been released from the team.
If I hadn't reserved the monkey-scratching-his-head-that-says-huh-on-it image for rubbish posts of the week, it would've been suitable here. I was in complete shock as I then read Mary Kay Cabot's story on Cleveland.com, confirming the release.
"LeCharles came back to Cleveland to be in integral part of the Cleveland Browns, his hometown team,'' said Jonathan Feinsod, Bentley's agent. "Through no fault of the Browns at all, they didn't know if LeCharles was going to come back or not and they moved on with their plans.
"But this is not the same team LeCharles signed with. They have commitments to other players. LeCharles is not ready to be an insurance policy at this point.''
There are two main reactions you could have to this situation:
-Call him LeDouchebag
-Shake your head and move on
When I first read the story, I was literally fuming. We've been paying Bentley for two years, and we've always been extremely excited about his potential to return to the field. When he was finally cleared to make a "true" return, he almost arrogantly stated that he is a starter, and if the Browns can't guarantee him of that this very second, some other team will (you have to wonder if another team tampered and was already in contact with him).
On the same note, you can definitely tell that the parallel between Bentley's situation and Gary Baxter's situation has been very different over the past two years. In press conferences, Phil Savage and company seemed to be upbeat and open whenever they mentioned Baxter's amazing and spirit-lifting comeback. Whenever questions were asked about Bentley, the answer seemed to be bland, or something along the lines of "we'll deal with that when he's ready".
The animosity has been there for awhile, and if you look back at all of Savage's comments in the past about Bentley, I'm sure you could easily form a post-bias and deem it as something we should've been more prepared for.
I'm very disappointed that Bentley will not be a part of the Cleveland Browns in 2008, or for any other year in the future. Although he wasn't guaranteed a starting role here, I expected him to beat out Rex Hadnot or Ryan Tucker for the starting right guard role.
Do you know what Bentley probably saw? He probably saw more than 20 teams in the NFL that are desperate for a former Pro Bowl lineman, even if he is coming off of a serious injury. If you're in his shoes, I guess you can't blame him in terms of being assured of a job. I don't agree with the way he went about things, but it is what it is. The biggest positive in this situation is that it does absolutely nothing to degrade our offensive line.
The biggest negative? Well, it could be the possibility that he'll sign with a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Baltimore Ravens any day now. Let the rumors begin...