Browns release Anderson
The Cleveland Browns released former Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Anderson, the team announced Tuesday. The move comes just one day after the team acquired Seneca Wallace in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
I wasn't taken out of context, but I was speaking out of frustration after my career with the Browns came to a close.” -- Ex-Browns QB Derek Anderson
New team president Mike Holmgren said it would be a "long shot" that both Anderson and Brady Quinn would be on the roster. A major reason for choosing Quinn was Anderson's contract required a $2 million roster bonus this month and a $7.45 million salary in 2010.
"I want to thank Derek for everything that he gave to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last five years," Browns coach Eric Mangini said in a statement. "He did everything we asked of him and it was a pleasure to coach such a competitive person. I want to wish him all the best in the future."
Anderson was not happy to be shown the door, lashing out at Browns fans on Tuesday.
"The fans are ruthless and don't deserve a winner," Anderson wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to the Willoughby News-Herald. "I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured.
"I know at times I wasn't great. I hope and pray I'm playing when my team comes to town and [we] roll them."
Both Arizona and Seattle could be attractive options for Anderson. The Cardinals lost Kurt Warner to retirement, and Anderson could provide insurance if Matt Leinart falters. In Seattle, Matt Hasselbeck has battled injuries in recent years, and the team just lost its backup in Wallace.
Anderson had his best season with the Browns in 2007, when he threw for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns and led the team to 10 victories. He received a three-year extension with Cleveland but never lived up to expectations after that point.
The 26-year-old Anderson spent five seasons with Cleveland, which claimed him off waivers from Baltimore in 2005. Anderson was due a $2 million roster bonus March 19 and his salary was set for $7.45 million in 2010, financial burdens that factored heavily into the Browns' decision to dump him.
In seven starts last season, Anderson completed just 81 of 182 passes (45 percent) for 888 yards with three TDs and 10 interceptions. On a windy Oct. 11 in Buffalo, Anderson went only 2-of-17 for 23 yards, but the Browns managed to eek out a 6-3 win over the Bills.
Anderson's rating was an abysmal 42.1 and the Browns went 3-4 with him in the starting lineup. But despite his struggles and constant criticism from Cleveland fans who preferred Quinn, Anderson never complained and remained one of the team's leaders.
After Quinn sustained a season-ending foot injury on Dec. 20, Anderson started and won Cleveland's final two games as the Browns finished with a four-game winning streak -- a spurt that likely saved Mangini's job.
Anderson will likely catch on with another team quickly. He's 6-foot-6, he's young and he's got one of those rare rifle arms that make NFL GMs drool. He's also got experience with 34 career starts.
Cleveland remains unsure of its starting quarterback for next season. The team has been very active in searching for potential trades and will likely continue to do so. Holmgren said last week that the team was actively looking for a quarterback but did not specify if that meant in free agency or via trade.
The Browns also have 11 picks in April's draft, and it's possible the club could use a high one to groom a starter.
James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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