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Browns Sign Steelers’ Roye

February 13, 2000

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Defensive end Orpheus Roye, an unrestricted free agent who emerged last season as a starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, agreed Saturday to a six-year contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Roye, a 6-foot-4, 288-pounder, has played the past four years in Pittsburgh. He has played both tackle and end.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Roye and Keith McKenzie, who had 8 1/2 sacks for Green Bay last year, visited the Browns on Friday.

The two weren’t on Cleveland’s early wish list, but after star ends Simeon Rice, Tony Brackens and James Porcher were designated franchise players by their respective teams, the Browns couldn’t afford to wait.

Roye, 26, was in on 57 tackles, 45 of them solo, and added one interception and one fumble recovery. He started 13 games at left defensive end and three at right defensive end. He produced 4.5 sacks.

He wasn’t at all bothered that the Browns and Steelers are fierce rivals.

``I am really excited to be joining the Cleveland Browns,″ Roye said. ``They are an up and coming team, and I’m really anxious to make my contribution. Everything here is first class, including the people and the facilities, and I really felt during my visit this was the place I wanted to be.″

Browns coach Chris Palmer said Roye, who played in college at Florida State, is entering his prime as a player.

``One of our off-season priorities was to improve our defensive personnel, and this is a great first step towards doing that,″ Palmer said.

The Browns agreed to terms Friday with defensive tackle Darius Holland on a two-year contract.

Holland, also 26, played in 15 games for the Browns last season, including 11 starts. The 6-foot, 320-pounder emerged as an inside force after the Browns traded Jerry Ball to Minnesota and John Jurkovic was sidelined with a groin injury.

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