NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth will be reinstated following the Super Bowl.
The Browns are not expected to keep Stallworth. He is due a bonus in the near future, and it is likely that the Team will part ways with Donte before that.
At the time that the indefinite suspension was declared by Goodell, we made our opinions well-known on several ocassions and in many forums, including this website. The decision of Goodell was inconsistent with previous rulings and nothing but a transparent attempt to appease certain fan groups that were upset at what they perceived to be a lenient sentence imposed in the criminal proceeding. In any event, the final chapter is about to be written. We shall see if Stallworth can reclaim any sort of a career in the NFL.
On another note, as a long-time season ticket holder, we note that Holmgren’s arrival in Brownstown as the new Team President seems to have brought about a strengthened commitment by the organization to the fans, or at least to season ticket holders. Owner Randy Lerner just announced that season ticket prices will not increase in 2010, for the fifth time in the last seven years. You will now be able to purchase season tickets in the Family Zone for the first time since the current stadium was built. I actually got a telephone call the other day from a gentleman that described himself as my new season ticket holder representative. He outlined the items that he could help me with such as extra tickets. That is the first time in my memory that I received such a telephone call or had any name to put to my account. Holmgren recently gave an interview during which he talked about the distinct home-field advantage in Cleveland because of the fans, the Dawg Pound in particular, and the weather. He also talked about the rich heritage of the Team, from Otto to Lou to Jim to Bernie. These are things that I never used to see or hear since Randy Lerner took over the Team from his late Father.
The cynics will say that these things are unimportant. I disagree. The number one priority is winning football games, no doubt about it. But along the road we need to restore some pride and fan enthusiasm back to Cleveland. I think that Holmgren is trying to do his part to achieve that.
I would be remiss if I ended this post without a word about the Super Bowl. I said before to never bet against Peyton Manning in a “money” game (which explains why most network experts are picking the Colts). But this seems different. The Saints are a team possessed with the power of a rebuilding City behind it. Brees and the gang appear almost destined to hoist the Lombardi trophy. We give the edge to New Orleans in a close contest.