The Cleveland Browns desperate for help at the center position have traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Bears for veteran lineman Lennie Friedman.
This means little for the Bears, except that GM Angelo has proved to be very adept at drafting young players who can start soon, but the interesting part of this is the circumstances for the Browns needing to make the trade. Check this out:
Cleveland thought it had secured the center position for the long term when it signed LeCharles Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl player in New Orleans, as an unrestricted free agent early in the spring. But Bentley, regarded by some as the top player at any position in this year's unrestricted pool, was lost for the season when he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon on the first day of camp.
His backup, Bob Hallen, who was also added as a free agent this spring, abruptly retired, citing back problems. Another reinforcement, Todd Washington, also decided to retire only a few days after agreeing to a contract. Alonzo Ephraim, who had moved into the starting spot by default, was suspended by the NFL for four games for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.
I know it is easy to discount the importance of the center at times while all the focus is on QB, RB and WR, but having the rock that is Kruetz is a huge luxury, especially when we had to start a rookie at QB last year.