When Matt Roth was in Cleveland, I think he had quite a few fans. Having been waived midseason by the Miami Dolphins, Eric Mangini picked up off waivers two years ago and allowed him to contribute immediately. Last year, Roth was a starting outside linebacker for the Browns, finishing with 86 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
When the offseason came and new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron indicated the team would be switching to a 4-3 defense, Roth made it pretty clear that he did not intend on re-signing with the team. He claimed it was because he was more fit to play in a 3-4 defense as outside linebacker as opposed to making the transition to a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. It seemed a little unusual that a player would limit what type of positions he could play as a free agent, and in an interview with the Plain Dealer yesterday, Roth says that he was fibbing about his reasoning.
"I can play any front. I was just lying," Roth said with a laugh during a conference call Wednesday.
Why would Roth outright lie like that? Roth put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Browns' front office, who he says lied to him last season:
"At the time [during the 2010 season], they said they were doing no contracts, then I was finding out other guys were getting contracts underneath the table," Roth said. "I was like, 'Well, the heck with it. I'm not gonna have people lying [to me].' So I wanted to go to another place where they'd tell the truth.
"I had no problem if they said they weren't going to do a contract, but don't tell me you're not doing contracts when you were. That's what I meant by games. But I couldn't say that at the time because you have to be a team player."
In the rest of the article, Roth continues to show no ill-will toward the city and his former teammates, as he offers praise for what he saw from Colt McCoy last season. He also cites Eric Steinbach's injury as one that has really hurt Cleveland's offense, and that losing Peyton Hillis for multiple games hasn't helped either.
This season with the Jaguars, Roth had 21 tackles and 3 sacks. He missed a couple of games earlier in the season with a neck injury. He should be lined up against Browns right tackle Tony Pashos this Sunday.