Browns good on their #039;Word#039; by signing DE

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

CLEVELAND - Defensive end Mark Word, who led the Cleveland Browns in sacks last season, signed a one-year contract extension with the club Wednesday.

Word was in the final year of his deal, but is now signed through the 2004 season.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pounder had eight sacks and forced four fumbles last season, picking up the slack for a defense that played most of the year without Courtney Brown, the club's former No. 1 overall draft pick.

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While Brown was out with a neck injury, Word had three sacks and four tackles in his first career start as the Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-7.

''Mark was exceptional last season pressuring the quarterback,'' Browns coach Butch Davis said. ''He is continuing to progress towards becoming a complete football player and is certainly an asset on our defensive line.''

Word, who played college ball at Jacksonville State, spent one season with Kansas City before signing with St. Louis. He spent the entire 2001 season on injured reserve (shoulder) and signed with the Browns as a free agent after being waived by the Rams.