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NFL News & Notes 

The Cleveland media is basically playing the "just shut up" side of the Baltimore Ravens getting to the Big Dance. It is not directed toward the Ravens' perspective but flung toward the Browns fans. The headlines have essentially read "Cleveland, this is your Super Bowl," meaning don't begrudge "Artie" Modell's Ravens, you should be cheering for them because they are as close as you're going to get for a while. 

Unfortunately, they could be correct. Hang in there Brownie fans, you just took another step backward.

The prolonged timing involved with firing head coach Chris Palmer has put the Browns behind the eight ball again. The Browns front office has missed the window of opportunity to hire a good, experienced head coach. The college ranks and unproven assistant coaches are all that remain. 

The Houston Texans have even filled their head coaching vacancy before the Brownies, hiring Dom Capers. And they don't start playing for 18 months! In other coaching moves, the Jets hired Tampa Bay coordinator Herman Edwards as their coach and Terry Bradway as their GM.

Hot Stove 

The big news (no pun intended): Mo Vaughn is out for at least six months and David Wells is swapped to Chicago.

Anaheim's Big Mo Vaughn, and I stress BIG, had been complaining of pain in his left arm since the middle of last season. Angels GM Bill Stoneman had to know this was coming. Why else would he sign perennial DH Jose Canseco the day before announcing that Vaughn would undergo surgery Feb. 6 to repair a ruptured tendon in his left arm? Good Luck trying to plug 36-year-old Canseco in Mo's spot in the lineup.

Lefty starter David Wells is on the move again. No, not to McDonald's for another Extra Value Meal . . .

Wells was shipped to Chicago White Sox for left-hander Mike Sirotka in a six-player deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Chicago will be Wells' sixth team since the 1994 season. Sirotka, who went 15-10 with a 3.79 ERA for the Sox in 2000, has a sore shoulder and will undergo rehab. The deal was almost rescinded as the Blue Jays were concerned that Sirotka was damaged goods. After a thorough exam, Sirotka is expected to be ready for opening day. Fan Spin: As out of shape as David Wells is, I'd take him any day. He has excellent fan numbers, averaging 18 wins, 165+ SO and a 4.11 ERA in 220+ innings in over 30 starts per year for the last four years.

The A's, who have been busy revamping their already strong lineup this off-season, have reportedly offered OF Jason Giambi a deal worth $91 million for six years. The hitch is supposedly deferred money. The A's had better find a way to keep Giambi or they can forget winning the AL West for a long while. AL MVP Giambi, 29, will make $4 million this season, the final year in a three-year deal, and he is eligible for free agency next winter.

Finally, Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield deservedly have been elected to join the rest of baseball's immortals in the Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will be held Aug. 5 at Cooperstown, NY. The festivities will also include anyone selected by the Veterans Committee.

Locker Room is written by Michael Skordeles

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Jan 19, 2001

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