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Dwight Clark Leaving Browns

May 13, 2002

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BEREA, Ohio (AP) _ Dwight Clark, best known for making ``The Catch″ for the San Francisco 49ers, is resigning as the Cleveland Browns’ director of football operations, clearing the way for coach Butch Davis to take greater control of personnel decisions.

Clark had been with the Browns since 1999, when they returned to the NFL as an expansion team.

``You’d have to consider this a joint decision,″ Browns president Carmen Policy said. ``He wants to try something else.″

Policy, in Houston at the NFL meetings, said Clark left the Browns to pursue other goals in football and that it is not a result of losing a power struggle with Davis.

``That’s not the case,″ Policy said. ``In fact, Dwight and the coach had a great relationship. Butch was as surprised as anyone.″

Clark oversaw the Browns’ draft during his three years with the team. Several players Clark selected have become building blocks for the team’s future, including starting quarterback Tim Couch.

Policy said that after working with Davis through last season and this year’s draft, Clark ``acknowledged this coach’s ability and said ’Look, I’m not going to let my ego get in the way.‴

He said one of Clark’s strengths is that ``when he sees what you can do, and he realizes that you’re better than him at doing some of the things that he may have the ultimate responsibility to do, he’s going to do what’s best for the team.″

Clark declined to comment.

With Clark’s departure, Davis takes full control of the Browns’ roster, though his title will not change, Policy said.

``We’re going to have the coach giving the greatest degree of input as to where we’re going and who we’re selecting when it comes to pro personnel,″ Policy said.

Davis said Monday he had a good working relationship with Clark.

``We always had a good dialogue and a nice exchange of ideas,″ Davis said. ``I assumed we would be working together again during the 2002 season, so I was surprised and disappointed to learn that he is leaving.″

Policy said Clark would not be replaced, and neither would Keith Kidd, the Browns’ pro personnel director since ’99, who also is leaving.

Clark, 44, joined the Browns in November 1999 after spending 19 seasons with the 49ers, nine as a player. He was a member of five Super Bowl winners with San Francisco, and is best remembered for catching Joe Montana’s TD pass in the 1981 NFC championship game to beat the Dallas Cowboys.

Clark had been brought to Cleveland by Policy, whom he worked with in San Francisco.

Clark had control of the Browns’ football operations for two years before Davis replaced Chris Palmer as Cleveland’s coach before last season.

Clark’s role changed upon Davis’ arrival, and when the former Miami coach brought in Pete Garcia, Davis’ assistant with the Hurricanes, it appeared Clark was the odd-man out.

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