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McGinest reunites with Crennel in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (March 15, 2006) -- Free agent linebacker Willie McGinest signed a three-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, reuniting him with coach Romeo Crennel.

McGinest visited Cleveland March 14 and reached the deal March 15 without visiting any other teams, said Steve Caric, spokesman for McGinest's agent, Gary Uberstine.

McGinest was cut by New England after 12 seasons in a salary cap move.

The 34-year-old McGinest spent seven seasons with Crennel in New England, including four with Crennel as defensive coordinator.

Recently signed nose tackle Ted Washington, who played with McGinest on the Patriots' 2003 championship team, had said he would encourage his former teammate to come to Cleveland.

The Browns, with lots of cap room to spend on free agents, have been one of the most active teams this offseason, signing center LeCharles Bentley, wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, offensive lineman Kevin Shaffer, punter Dave Zastudil and Washington.

But they had yet to address their pass rushing, an area general manager Phil Savage listed as a priority, until signing McGinest.

He has 78 career sacks, including six last season, and is the NFL's postseason sacks leader with 16.

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