The Browns quarterback situation seemed so stable, even enviable. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn were young, talented and too valuable to part with either one.
Before the 2008 and ’09 seasons, the Browns hierarchy — which changed between the seasons — decided it was best for the organization to keep them both. How quickly, and drastically, things have changed.
Anderson was released Tuesday, and Quinn could follow him out of town, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Browns are shopping him around the league. New president Mike Holmgren is keeping his options open as he makes over the quarterback position, and that includes trading Quinn.
It also includes bringing in former Carolina Pro Bowler Jake Delhomme for a visit today, according to multiple reports.
Delhomme’s agent, Rick E. Smith, didn’t return a message seeking comment.
The Browns didn’t address the Quinn rumors Wednesday, but Holmgren hasn’t committed to him for 2010 and has been desperate to fix the situation since he arrived in January.
If Quinn is jettisoned — the Browns would be lucky to get a third-round draft pick — he would join Tim Couch, Charlie Frye and Anderson as once-promising quarterbacks who turned busts in a Browns uniform within the last decade.
Quinn arrived with such promise. He was the golden boy from the Golden Dome. If it wasn’t enough that he was from Notre Dame, he was raised in Columbus as a Browns fan.
Former general manager Phil Savage traded a first-round pick in 2008 and a second-rounder in 2007 for the chance to draft Quinn at No. 22 in 2007. The Browns were the talk of the NFL, and Quinn became an instant fan favorite.
That was as good as it got. He hasn’t lived up to the hype, nor been given much of a chance.
Quinn, 25, has started just 12 games in three years, winning three. He was named the starter for 2009, but was pulled in Week 3. He made six starts in the second half but finished the year on injured reserve with a foot injury.
He’s completed 52 percent with 10 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 66.8 rating.
Delhomme has the experience edge on Quinn and could bridge the gap to the quarterback of the future — whoever that may be. Delhomme (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) is 35 years old and has been a starter since 2003, when he surprised the NFL by leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl in his first extended playing time.
He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and holds the Carolina career passing records. He has a 58-40 record with an 82.1 career rating, 123 touchdowns and 94 interceptions.
But the former undrafted free agent fell out of favor in 2009. The year started with a playoff loss in which he threw five interceptions. Things continued to go south the next season, with eight touchdowns, 18 interceptions and a 59.4 rating.
He was cut by the Panthers last week in a monetary move, which drew tears from Delhomme and emotional goodbyes from coach John Fox and the front office.
“These are joyful emotions that I’m feeling,” Delhomme said. “When I signed here in ’03, I wanted a chance to play quarterback in the NFL. I got that chance, and I think I made the most of it. It’s been a great run.
“I’m leaving with no animosity whatsoever. Not every script gets to have a happy ending.”
While Quinn and Delhomme are questionable to be on the roster next year, Seneca Wallace has a spot secured. The trade with the Seahawks was finalized Wednesday after he passed a physical in Berea. He’s been the backup quarterback in Seattle for seven years, going 5-9 as a starter.
“We are fortunate that we were able to acquire someone with Seneca’s experience at such a key position,” general manager Tom Heckert said in a news release. “In watching him in person and on tape, the things which stand out are his strong arm and outstanding athleticism, and that will allow us to do a lot of things with him while he is on the field.
“He played well in limited opportunities while he was with Seattle and we expect him to come in here and compete.”
The Browns gave up an undisclosed draft pick in 2011, believed to be a late-rounder.
“I’m looking forward to this new opportunity with the Cleveland Browns and I am excited to be back with Coach Holmgren,” Wallace said in the release. “With him here, as well as many of the other people they have in place, I believe this franchise is headed in the right direction.”
That won’t be known for a while. But what’s clear is the Browns seem likely to continue the upheaval at quarterback that has been nearly nonstop since the Couch-Kelly Holcomb debate began in 2002.
Anderson regrets remarks
It didn’t take Anderson long to regret ripping Browns fans. He sent a statement early Wednesday morning through a former Browns public relations manager.
“I said some things … earlier that I regret,” he wrote. “Those of you who got to know me personally from covering the Browns over the past five years, know this was out of character for me. I wasn’t taken out of context, but I was speaking out of frustration after my career with the Browns came to a close.
“I had some great times playing in Cleveland, especially during the 2007 season, and I met some great people and made many lifelong friends along the way. I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life.”
Anderson had a strained relationship with Browns fans after repeated boos and an ugly episode when they cheered a serious knee injury.
“The fans are ruthless and don’t deserve a winner,” Anderson wrote to the News-Herald in an e-mail Tuesday. “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.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.