Browns GM says Manning not in team’s plans

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Heckert said there’s comfort in knowing what they have in McCoy. He also believes adding former Minnesota coach Brad Childress as the team’s new offensive coordinator will only help McCoy, who was plagued by a lack of protection and dropped balls last season.

“The question is whether we have enough to see what Colt can do, and I think we do,” Heckert said. “If we catch more balls and protect him better, can Colt be a lot better? Yes. That’s our goal. We still think Colt can play in this league and it’s our job to help him out.”

As for free agency, Heckert won’t change his ways.

Since his days as Philadelphia’s GM, Heckert has resisted the urge to overspend on players. He’ll stick with his method of building mainly through the draft while adding lower-tier free agents to fill particular holes _ and the Browns have a bunch.

“We’re not going to go crazy in free agency,” he said. “You look at throughout the history. I know Green Bay didn’t sign one free agent when they won (the Super Bowl) two years ago. I don’t think the Giants signed anybody, or at least anybody you’ve ever heard of as a free agent. You don’t win football games by signing a bunch of free agents. Now, can they help you? Certainly. And if there’s guys that we think can help us, we’ll definitely do it. But it’s easier said than done.”

Heckert’s stance would seem to rule out the Browns making a run at Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn, the prize of this year’s free agent group.

Heckert reiterated the Browns are open to re-signing running back Peyton Hillis, who had a drama- and injury-filled second season in Cleveland. Hillis, who rushed for 1,177 yards in 2010, recently changed agents again and will be an unrestricted free agent.

“If we can work things out, he’d like be here,” Heckert said. “And if we can do it, we’d like him to be here. Whether he has to wait till he sees what happens in free agency, that’s fine with us. We’re willing to do that. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go.”

On other Browns issues, Heckert said:

_ The team has not had any contact with linebacker Scott Fujita, who played for New Orleans from 2006-09 and is reportedly entangled in the Saints’ “bounty” scandal.

_ He would like to sign veteran kicker Phil Dawson to a long-term contract. The Browns placed their franchise tag last week on Dawson, who has been with Cleveland since 1999 and his coming off one of his finest seasons.

_ The Browns want to retain free safety Mike Adams and cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.

_ Right tackle Tony Pashos underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday. Pashos was slowed by an injury to his ankle most of last season.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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