Browns turn #039;Green#039; with signing of top pick
BEREA -- Running back William Green ended his five-day holdout Saturday by agreeing to terms on a five-year, $7.850 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.
The first-round draft pick's deal was finalized shortly after Green's agent, Tom Condon, had initially turned down the package.
Browns president Carmen Policy said the sides agreed on a seven-year deal that will be voided to five years if Green reaches some early incentives.
According to two league sources close to the negotiations, Condon accepted the same deal he had rebuffed earlier Saturday. The sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the deal is worth $7.850 million.
With his signing and roster bonuses, the sources said Green is guaranteed $5.9 million.
If Green reaches certain performance incentives, the contract will increase in value over the final two years.
''We are hoping that his (Green's) performance is consistent with the structure and content of his financial package,'' Policy said.
Condon would not comment, but said Green would fly to Cleveland and may practice with the Browns on Sunday.
That's a relief to coach Butch Davis.
''I am glad the deal is done,'' Davis said. ''I felt confident everything would work out. The upside is William will be here for a significant amount of training camp.''
Green had been the only Browns player not to report to training camp, and his tardiness started to irritate Cleveland's front office.
On Friday, Policy said he would be disappointed if Green, taken with the 16th overall pick, wasn't signed by the end of the weekend.
Green missed his second full-squad workout on Saturday, and he had been officially late since Tuesday when the club's other rookies reported.
Team spokesman Todd Stewart said that Cleveland's total offer -- the one Green eventually accepted -- was 10 percent higher than the deal the New York Jets gave wide receiver Santana Moss -- the 16th pick in 2001 -- last summer.
League-wide, rookies have been signing for about a 4 percent increase over the contracts given to first-year players last summer.
Stewart said Cleveland's proposal to Condon also included guaranteed money that's 6 percent higher than the five-year, $7.050 million deal Moss got from the Jets.
The Browns have a good relationship with the IMG agent, who also represents quarterback Tim Couch and wide receiver Kevin Johnson.
Johnson, too, has had contract issues with the club.
Condon recently turned down a three-year, $10 million for Johnson, the Browns' top offensive threat. Policy had said the Browns would resume talks with Johnson once the Green deal was completed.
Stewart added that the Browns' offer to Green included escalator incentives in the fourth and fifth years.
Green was the first running back selected in this year's draft, and the Browns are counting on him to turn around one of the league's worst running games.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have ranked last or next-to-last in rushing.
Green skipped his senior season at Boston College to turn pro after gaining 1,559 yards and scoring 15 TDs.
The 6-foot-1, 221-pounder overcame a challenging childhood and fulfilled his dream by making it to the NFL.
Green grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., projects and his father returned from Vietnam hooked on heroin. He died of AIDS when Green was in the sixth grade.
Green's mother died 16 months later, also from AIDS. Green was separated from his four siblings and raised by his grandmother.
When he was in college, Green's high school teacher who became a surrogate father to him pleaded guilty to child molestation charges. The Associated Press