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Browns sign veteran CB Mickens

BEREA, Ohio (Aug. 18, 2005) -- Veteran cornerback Ray Mickens agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, giving the team's injury-thinned secondary some depth and experience.

Released earlier this month when the New York Jets signed free agent Ty Law, Mickens will practice with the Browns once his deal is finalized and he passes a physical and conditioning test, team spokesman Bill Bonsiewicz said.

Mickens, a nine-year veteran, spent nine seasons with the Jets. He played in New York from 1997-1999 with Browns coach Romeo Crennel, who was then the club's defensive line coach.

The Browns have been looking for help at cornerback for the past few weeks as insurance because Daylon McCutcheon has been held out of team practices during training camp with migraine headaches and dizziness. McCutcheon, who has made 80 starts since 1999, has improved but is not well enough for contact.

Cleveland's urgency for another cornerback heightened when Michael Lehan strained his hamstring during practice. Lehan missed six games last season with calf and hamstring injuries, and was out four games in 2003 with the same injuries.

Lehan had moved into McCutcheon's starting spot.

The 5-foot-8 Mickens is more than just a body for the Browns. A fan favorite in New York, the 32-year-old survived a succession of coaching and front-office changes as well as countless challengers who tried but couldn't take away Mickens' spot as a part-time starter and full-time nickelback.

This is a comeback season for Mickens, who missed all of 2004 after tearing a knee ligament during training camp. It was a disappointing blow for Mickens, who had filled in for injured Donnie Abraham in 2003 and recorded a career-high 75 tackles and had two interceptions in 14 starts.

Mickens missed some early practice time with swelling in his knee this summer, but was looking like the same productive player. However, when the Jets decided to sign Law, a perennial Pro Bowler with New England, Mickens was let go. Mickens was drafted in the sixth round of the 1996 draft after playing at Texas A&M.

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