Two of the biggest mysteries this season came when the Cleveland Browns suddenly traded running back Jerome Harrison, and then later acquired defensive end Jayme Mitchell only to have him on the inactive list each and every week. The Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi asked general manager Tom Heckert about these mysteries and got answers, some of which basically pointed the finger at former head coach Eric Mangini.
Heckert's quotes are after the jump; hat tip to StuckInPA for pointing me toward the story in his FanShot.
Regarding Jerome Harrison being Traded:
Heckert said former coach Eric Mangini lobbied to trade Harrison. He was traded for Philadelphia running back Mike Bell on Oct. 14. "I'm not saying we shouldn't have [traded him] because Jerome ... he wasn't begging to get out of here, but he was acting like he wanted to get out of here. It wasn't going to do us a whole lot of good to keep him here. Jerome was kind of going through the motions. I think he thought he should have been playing more."
I still look at this as a very poor trade. Harrison got off to a bad start of the year, and he had a reason to be upset that his playing time was decreasing. After all, this was a running back who put together an unbelievable finish in 2009 and contributed toward saving Mangini's job for 2010. Getting rid of Harrison and James Davis forced Peyton Hillis to take more of a beating than he had to, because Mike Bell just wasn't effective enough.
The Jayme Mitchell Mystery is...Mangini's Fault:
Heckert described this one as "bizarre." "He was by far our best pass rusher and never got on the field, so I can't answer that one," Heckert said. "Eric watched him [on tape prior to the trade] and Eric liked him. So I don't know what happened after that. He's a nickel pass rusher on third down. We thought he could really rush the passer."
With Mitchell's status up-in-the-air next season, the trade could end up being a waste. Maybe Heckert can convince him that he'll be given a chance to play next season under a new coaching staff. For Heckert to call him our best pass rusher and for him to not have seen the field is puzzling. We missed out on seeing what the guy had to offer.
There is one more interesting nugget that Heckert told Mangini: at the moment, he has no plans to terminate the contract of quarterback Jake Delhomme, who is set to make $5.4 million.