Browns cut Jurevicius
CLEVELAND (AP) — Joe Jurevicius was convinced he could come back next season and help his hometown Cleveland Browns. They weren’t so sure.
Jurevicius, a die-hard Cleveland fan who attended Browns games as a kid, was released by the club Wednesday after it couldn’t work out a new contract with the veteran wide receiver.
The 34-year-old Jurevicius missed all of last season after getting a staph infection in his right knee following a routine operation in January 2008. He had one season remaining on a four-year deal he signed as a free agent in 2006. The Browns had approached Jurevicius and his agent, David Dunn, about restructuring his contract.
Browns coach Eric Mangini understood Jurevicius’ value to the club — on and off the field. But the sides were not able to reach terms.
‘‘These types of decisions are always difficult ones, especially with someone like Joe, who has meant a great deal to the Cleveland Browns organization and to the fans of Cleveland,’’ Browns general manager George Kokinis said. ‘‘Eric and I have had extensive conversations with Joe and his representatives. In the end we were unable to reach an agreement that was in the best interests of both parties. We want to thank Joe for his contributions to the Browns and wish him the best of luck in the future.’’
Jurevicius played two seasons for the Browns. He caught 40 passes with three touchdowns in 2006 and had 50 receptions with three touchdowns in 2007. He underwent a simple surgical procedure to clean out scar tissue in January 2008, and he contracted staph. The infection ravaged Jurevicius’ knee and he had to have six more operations.
Still, he was determined to rejoin the Browns next season and in November said he wanted to leave the NFL on his own terms. His hope was to walk off the field at Browns Stadium with his two daughters at his side.
‘‘I don’t want them to see me give me up,’’ he said. ‘‘I could take the easy way out and say I’m done. I’m going to take the tough road and I’m not done. I’m going to play.’’
In 11 seasons with the New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Seattle and Cleveland, Jurevicius has 323 receptions for 4,119 yards and 29 TDs.
Jurevicius set career highs with 55 receptions and 10 TDs for the Seahawks in 2005.