INDIANAPOLIS — The Browns are exploring an option to improve their receiving corps weeks before the start of free agency.
Steve Breaston, a six-year veteran, will visit the Browns this week after meeting with the Steelers on Sunday, according to multiple reports. Breaston, 29, grew up in the Pittsburgh area.
Free agency doesn’t begin until March 12, but Breaston is available to negotiate and sign because he was released last week by the Chiefs. He was coming off a highly disappointing season and was due $4 million in salary and bonuses.
Breaston (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) lost his job to Jon Baldwin last season and was removed from the rotation. He started four games and caught seven passes for 74 yards.
A fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2007, Breaston signed with Kansas City in 2011 and caught 61 passes and two touchdowns. His best season came in 2008, when he caught 77 for 1,006 yards and three touchdowns.
Todd Haley coached Breaston in 2011 with the Chiefs, and is the Steelers’ offensive coordinator.
“I know of the Pittsburgh tradition and the winning ways, and it would be a great team to be involved with, but for me, it is all about using this process,” Breaston told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I have to take everything in and see what would be a good fit for me and where I can come in and play.”
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith will not be joining the Browns.
CBS’ Jason La Canfora reported the 49ers have told teams a trade involving Smith is “effectively complete.” It can’t be finalized until the league year begins March 12.
Browns CEO Joe Banner said Saturday he planned to move forward with Brandon Weeden for 2013 and didn’t expect to make a trade. The Plain Dealer confirmed Sunday the Browns weren’t the team with the deal in place for Smith.
Kansas City, Jacksonville and Arizona are possible candidates.
He likes Mike
Banner was asked about the perception that he’s a business guy and vice president of player personnel Michael Lombardi is a TV guy who hadn’t worked in the league in five years.
“I think the people around the country and around the league that know don’t share those perceptions,” he said. “I think people in the league know that I was intimately involved in the small group of people who made the football decisions in Philadelphia that led to a lot of success. I think the people that know Mike Lombardi as it relates to his player-evaluation ability would feel like it’s a good combination, that we can build a successful organization.”
Lombardi hasn’t talked to the media during the combine because he’s focused on meetings, according to Banner, but he will be available during the free-agent and draft processes.
Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron is the brother of Browns tight end Jordan. Colby ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He threw 31 touchdowns and five interceptions as a senior.
West Virginia’s Geno Smith led quarterbacks with a 4.59 40.
The receivers stole the show in the 40, as Texas’ Marquise Goodwin (5-9, 180 pounds) ran a 4.27, followed by West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (5-8, 173) and Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope (6-0, 204) at 4.34.
Denard Robinson, who played quarterback at Michigan but is expected to switch to receiver in the NFL, was timed in 4.43.
Under one roof
The Browns have started a renovation project at team headquarters in Berea. Banner wanted to bring the departments based at the stadium into the same building as the rest of the organization.
Cleveland firm Westlake Reed Leskosky will handle the project, with construction set to start next month and completion expected by mid-July, just in time for training camp.
The facility opened in 1991 and was renovated in 1999 and 2009.