Over the next three days, I’ll use this space to focus on each of the six former Browns on the 53-man roster who will return to Cleveland this Sunday. We start with defensive tackle Gerard Warren.
Even if Gerard Warren were to say anything that would end up being posted on the wall of the Browns’ locker room, he doesn’t think it would mean much.
“Bulletin-board material — what is it worth? To me, really, nothing,” Warren said. “Guys do a lot of talking, but you’ve got to get on the field and back it up on Sunday.”
That doesn’t mean he’s going to try and provide anything for his former team to use this week.
“I ain’t much to starting comments before the game,” he said. “I’m just willing to go out and do what I’ve got to do on the field.”
On the field, he has helped the Broncos allow fewer rushing yards than all but two other NFL teams since the 2005 season began — 1,871 yards, or 89.1 per game. Away from it, he — and his other former Browns-turned-Broncos along the defensive line — have meshed well with their Denver teammates.
“I think we were a nice compliment to the key guys that we already had intact there — the John Lynches, Champ Baileys, the Al Wilsons, all the linebackers, together with us coming in up front and bringing in an added extra ingredient that Larry (Coyer) thought was missing,” Warren said. “I think things are working out the way we envisioned them.”
When Warren began his career in Cleveland, he envisioned a long tenure there after joining as the No. 3 overall pick in 2001. It didn’t quite work out that way, although he did help the Browns to a playoff appearance in 2002 and had a particularly stellar effort against the Broncos a year later, notching 10 tackles and two sacks in what would eventually be a 23-20 Denver overtime win.
But a 4-12 season sealed the fate of Butch Davis, the coach who drafted him. Davis’ replacement, Romeo Crennel, did have a chat with Warren about his future, but ultimately opted to deal the 2001 No. 3 overall pick to Denver in early March 2005.
“I sat down and I talked with Gerard for an hour, so we could just try to get a chance to know each other, to feel each other out, to see if we could work together,” Crennel said. “And after he walked out, I kind of felt that we could work together, but as the thing turned out, we were able to trade him.”
There were no hard feelings from either side.
“I do have good memories: the relationships I built around the community and throughout the organization,” Warren said.
One of those good relationships in Cleveland transferred to Denver when he rejoined defensive line/tackles coach Andre Patterson just two months after the coaching change caused their paths to temporarily diverge.
“(I) thank Coach Patterson — and thank (Head) Coach (Mike) Shanahan for being able to trust him in his judgment in the players that were in Cleveland that he had coached under him to bring us here and know this thing would work out,” Warren said.
The other relationship was with his teammates — several of whom have joined him.
“We bonded for life after we played in Cleveland and the guys,” Warren said. “The bond grew stronger once we got here.”
Much to the Broncos’ benefit.