Dilfer, acquired in a weekend trade from the Seattle Seahawks,
signed a four-year contract Tuesday with Cleveland, taking over a
position the Browns haven't gotten right since coming back to the
NFL in 1999.
Dilfer, who turns 33 Sunday, brings a Super Bowl ring and
considerable experience to Cleveland after enduring personal and
professional hardships during his career.
"I feel like I've got a lot of football left,'' he said. "I
love this game. I love the travel. I love the way Mondays feel
after a win or a loss. I love the pressure. There's not a guy who
loves football more than I do. I feel like my best football is
ahead of me.''
Dilfer came to the Browns with one year left on his contract at
$1.2 million. The Browns, though, decided to invest more time into
Dilfer, seeing him as not only a proven veteran, but as someone who
can win games and tutor young quarterbacks Luke McCown and Josh Harris.
"He's a winner and he's a tremendous man,'' said Browns general
manager Phil Savage. "You look at the mountaintop highs and valley
lows he has struggled with. But through his career he's figured out
what it takes to win in the NFL.''
Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Savage and Dilfer have been reunited in Cleveland. They were
together in Baltimore in 2000, winning a Super Bowl with the
But at the time when his future looked brightest, Dilfer was not
re-signed by Baltimore and went to Seattle as a free agent in 2001.
He took over for Matt Hasselbeck, went 4-0 as a starter and signed
a four-year deal.
In 2003, a torn Achilles' tendon ended his season. A few months
later, he was dealt a greater blow.
Dilfer's 5-year-old son, Trevin, died of a heart infection after
spending 40 days in a coma.
That loss gave Dilfer an even greater appreciation of what he
had and a larger perspective on life.
"I've learned some very hard life lessons,'' he said, his eyes
filled with tears as he talked about his son. "I'm so much more
sensitive to other people. I used to be a zero on the mercy
Meanwhile, Dilfer could be the best protected QB the Browns have
had since 1999.
On Tuesday, the club signed former Tampa Bay guard Cosey Coleman
to a two-year, $3 million contract.
Coleman, a solid four-year starter with the Buccaneers, is the
second free agent guard signed by the Browns, whose offensive line
has been a chronic problem. Last week, the club signed former New
England Patriots guard Joe Andruzzi to a four-year $9 million deal.
The 6-foot-4, 322-pound Coleman visited the Green Bay Packers on
Monday. He resumed talks with the Browns late that night and his
agent, Pat Dye Jr., was able to get a deal done with Cleveland.
"We like his versatility at guard,'' Browns coach Romeo Crennel
said. "The fact that he has been a starter in the NFL and been to
a Super Bowl is the type of experience and durability we are
Coleman, 26, also visited the Browns as an unrestricted free
agent last year but decided to re-sign with Tampa Bay for one
season. He played every snap at right guard for the Bucs in 2004
and has started 63 of 64 games the past three seasons.
Crennel made the interior of his offensive line the team's No. 1
priority this offseason, and Andruzzi and Coleman are a substantial
upgrade over the parade of guards the club has shuttled in and out
the past few seasons.
The Browns also re-signed defensive back Lewis Sanders.