CLEVELAND (March 14, 2005) -- Defensive end Courtney Brown was released by the Cleveland Browns, although the move may be only temporary.
Brown, the first overall choice in the 2000 draft, played five injury-plagued seasons with the Browns and never lived up to expectations. He was cut a day before he was due a $2.5 million roster bonus.
The Browns attempted to redo his contract before releasing him and will continue talks with his agent, Marvin Demoff.
"We are hoping this is a temporary situation and Courtney chooses to continue his career with the Browns," Browns general manager Phil Savage said in a statement.
A message left seeking comment from Demoff was not returned.
Last month, Brown said he'd be willing to move to linebacker in new coach Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defensive scheme.
Brown missed 33 games with injuries the past four seasons, including the final 14 games last season after tearing a ligament in his foot.
Injuries severely limited Brown's playing time and production as a pass-rusher. He totaled just 17 sacks in 47 games. His injuries included a torn knee ligament, a high ankle sprain, microfracture knee surgery and a ruptured right biceps tendon.
Brown's rookie season in 2000 was his most productive. He appeared in all 16 games, recording 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
The 26-year-old is the third underachieving first-round draft pick cut loose by the Browns in the last eight months.
Before last season, the Browns released quarterback Tim Couch, the expansion team's No. 1 pick in 1999. Defensive tackle Gerard Warren, the No. 3 pick in 2001, was traded to Denver this month for a fourth-round draft choice.
The Browns also signed defensive tackle Jason Fisk to three-year contract.
The 10-year veteran played the last three seasons with San Diego. He recorded 30 tackles and one sack in 15 games in 2004.
Fisk should give the Browns some depth following Brown's release and the trade of Warren.
Fisk was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings out of Stanford in 1995. He played four seasons with Minnesota and three with Tennessee.
Fisk's career totals include 450 tackles, 19 sacks and three interceptions in 150 games.