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Browns Sack Third-String QB Josh Booty

September 17, 2003

BEREA, Ohio (AP) _ Josh Booty never saw this hit coming.

The third-string quarterback was blindsided by Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis, who waived him on Wednesday.

``It’s crazy,″ said Booty, who spent the past two seasons on Cleveland’s roster backing up Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb. ``Where’s the loyalty?″

Booty was playing golf on Tuesday in Akron when Davis called to tell him he was no longer needed. The news stunned the 28-year-old, who played five seasons of pro baseball in the Florida Marlins’ organization before signing with the Browns in 2001.

``I was like, ’What?, you’re kidding,‴ Booty said. ``If we’re 2-0 right now, I don’t get released. It doesn’t make any sense. You don’t do that in the third week of the season. I’m getting calls right and left from guys on the team wondering what happened.″

Davis claims he made the move to free up a roster spot, and that it had nothing to do with Booty or his performance. The Browns did a survey of NFL games over the past five years and found that third-string quarterbacks were used in only 10 games, Davis said.

Cleveland signed offensive lineman Craig Osika, who was waived last month by San Francisco. The Browns (0-2) play the 49ers on Sunday.

Booty figured he was in the Browns’ long-term plans.

Although he hadn’t played in a regular-season game in three years, Booty received high praise from Davis and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

There’s a strong possibility that either Holcomb or Couch won’t be with the Browns next season, and Booty, who has a strong arm and feels he can someday start in the league, figured he would be a backup.

``It’s crazy, man. They were telling me that I was climbing up the ladder,″ Booty said. ``One of those two quarterbacks probably isn’t going to be here next year.″

The Browns have another quarterback, rookie Nate Hybl, on their practice squad. But Booty thinks the club is taking a ``risk″ by not having another experienced quarterback on its active roster.

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