Jim Pyne got to live the lineman’s dream Tuesday--a crowd cheering just for him.
As the Cleveland Browns’ first pick in the expansion draft, the five-year NFL veteran who started at center for Detroit last season found himself in the rare position of standing in the spotlight.
Pyne, who was at the Canton (Ohio) Civic Center for the draft, seemed a bit awed by the experience. He looked a little flushed as his name was called and the Dawg Pound, Cleveland’s rowdiest fans, stood up and barked.
“Somebody asked me when the last time I got a standing ovation was,” he said. “I don’t know. I think my mom might have stood up at a game one time.”
Pyne, 27, who has a salary cap value of $1.8 million, asked the Lions to leave him exposed to the draft. He wasn’t happy with the offense at Detroit, and its tendency to run Barry Sanders wide, he said.
“It was a bad situation,” Pyne said. “I wanted to be on the expansion list--this is exciting for me.”
Cleveland did add an old name to add to its new roster by selecting Antonio Langham. Langham was a former Brown who was a bust with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Browns spent wisely--only two players have salary cap costs over $1 million--and loaded up on young offensive linemen and defensive backs. Cleveland used 10 of its 37 picks on defensive backs and nine on the offensive front.
The Browns also added five linebackers, four running backs, four wide receivers, four defensive lineman, and one quarterback, Tampa Bay’s Scott Milanovich.
As expected, Cleveland avoided such high-priced players as Denver’s Darrien Gordon and Washington’s Gus Frerotte, opting instead to take players it considers to have long-term potential while saving money to use on free agents.
Cleveland also passed on running back Sedric Shaw of New England, who could become the Patriots’ starter after Robert Edwards was injured last week competing in a flag football game in Hawaii. The Browns instead took Scott Rehberg, an offensive tackle, with the third pick, and the Patriots were then allowed to pull a player back from the expansion list and used it to protect Shaw.
The NFL required the Browns to take 30 to 42 players or spend 38% ($21.77 million) of their salary cap ($57.288 million) on players they take in the expansion draft. So Cleveland had to equally weigh a player’s character, expense and potential before making him part of its future.
The Browns spent $18.062 million, leaving them with $39 million to spend free-agent shopping. They can begin signing free agents Friday.
The Browns figured to be frugal, and they made some penny-pinching picks. They also selected only one player over 30.
Offensive tackle Jamie Brown, an expensive acquisition who flopped with the 49ers, was released as part of the team’s effort to cut the payroll and comply with the salary cap.
Brown’s release provided $2.3 million in relief for the 49ers, who began the week about $13 million over next season’s projected $57.5 million cap. Teams must be at or under the cap by Friday.
Other players in danger of being released include safety Merton Hanks and guard Kevin Gogan.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Cleveland Browns’ Expansion Draft
Players selected by the Cleveland Browns in the expansion draft on Tuesday.
1. Jim Pyne, c, Detroit.
2. Hurvin McCormack, de, Dallas.
3. Scott Rehberg, ot, New England.
4. Damon Gibson, wr, Cincinnati.
5. Steve Gordon, c, San Francisco.
6. Tarek Saleh, lb, Carolina.
7. Jeff Buckey, g, Miami.
8. Jason Kyle, lb, Seattle.
9. Rod Manuel, de, Pittsburgh.
10. Lenoy Jones, lb, Tennessee.
11. Tim McTyer, cb, Philadelphia.
12. Elijah Alexander, lb, Indianapolis.
13. Pete Swanson, ot, Kansas City.
14. Gerome Williams, s, San Diego.
15. Marlon Forbes, s, Chicago.
16. Justin Armour, wr, Denver.
17. Paul Wiggins, ot, Washington.
18. Duane Butler, s, Minnesota.
19. Fred Brock, wr, Arizona.
20. Kory Blackwell, cb, N.Y. Giants.
21. Kevin Devine, cb, Jacksonville.
22. Ray Jackson, cb, Buffalo.
23. Jim Bundren, g, N.Y. Jets.
24. Ben Cavil, g, Baltimore.
25. Michael Blair, rb, Green Bay.
26. Antonio Anderson, dt, Dallas.
27. Orlando Bobo, g, Minnesota.
28. James Williams, lb, San Francisco.
29. Scott Milanovich, qb, Tampa Bay.
30. Eric Stokes, s, Seattle.
31. Ronald Moore, rb, Miami.
32. Clarence Williams, rb, Buffalo.
33. Freddie Solomon, wr, Philadelpha.
34. Brandon Sanders, s, N.Y. Giants.
35. Mike Thompson, nt, Cincinnati.
36. Jerris McPhail, rb, Detroit.
37. Antonio Langham, db, San Francisco.