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Droughns Traded to Browns After 1,000-Yard Season

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page D03

The Denver Broncos traded running back Reuben Droughns to the Cleveland Browns yesterday for two defensive linemen, end Ebenezer Ekuban and tackle Michael Myers.

Droughns, 26, will vie with Lee Suggs for playing time in Cleveland. Droughns rushed for 1,240 yards for the Broncos last season, emerging as Denver's starting tailback one season after Clinton Portis was traded to the Washington Redskins.

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Trades Becoming More Frequent in NFL (washingtonpost.com, Mar 31, 2005)
Droughns Heads East to Join Browns (washingtonpost.com, Mar 30, 2005)
NFL Draft Predictions (The Washington Post, Mar 29, 2005)

Before last season, Droughns had managed 97 rushing yards in three seasons for the Detroit Lions and Broncos while playing fullback.

He became the fifth running back in seven years to rush for at least 1,100 yards in a season for the Broncos, joining Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Portis.

When the Broncos told Droughns he would have to compete for playing time next season and might be moved back to fullback, he asked to be traded.

Ekuban, 28, had a career-best eight sacks for the Browns last season after managing 12 1/2 sacks in five seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. He becomes the third defensive lineman who was a first-round pick to move from Cleveland to Denver in about a month.

The Broncos traded a fourth-round pick in next month's draft to the Browns for defensive tackle Gerard Warren and agreed to a contract this week with defensive end Courtney Brown after he was released by Cleveland.

Redskins Sign R. Brown

The Washington Redskins announced the re-signing of offensive lineman Ray Brown. Brown, 42, signed a one-year deal for his 20th NFL season. Brown, coming off knee and ankle surgery, said he continues to work on regaining balance and strength in his lower body and expects to be on the field for June minicamp.

"That's my thinking," he said.

Teams Deny Rivers Trade

The Chargers are joining the 49ers in squashing speculation that quarterback Philip Rivers could be traded from San Diego to San Francisco for the top overall pick in next month's draft.

The trade would give the 49ers a quarterback prospect widely regarded as more promising than Aaron Rodgers or Alex Smith, and would give the Chargers, who have Drew Brees at quarterback, three first-round draft choices on the heels of a season in which they went 12-4 and won the AFC West.

Officials from both teams say no trade talks are taking place and they don't expect a deal to happen.

The Chargers used their franchise-player tag to keep Brees off the unrestricted free agent market this offseason and declined to negotiate a long-term contract with him.

Uncertainty About Shields

The Kansas City Chiefs are uncertain if guard Will Shields, who reached his 10th career Pro Bowl last season, will return for a 13th NFL season.

Coach Dick Vermeil has said he expects Shields, 33, to play next season but isn't sure about it.. . .

Quarterback Josh McCown signed a $1.4 million tender offer with the Cardinals, who inked free agent Kurt Warner earlier this month. . . .

St. Louis signed defensive end Jay Williams to a three-year, $2.65 million contract that includes a $300,000 signing bonus. Williams began his career with the Rams before two-year stints with Carolina and Miami. . .

Center Tyson Walter, a restricted free agent, re-signed with the Cowboys. He got a one-year deal worth $656,000.

Staff writer Jason La Canfora contributed to this report.

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