The Cleveland Browns say they will determine if comments made by fired coach Bud Carson allow them to cancel his contract, according to yesterday's (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

But Carson told the paper he was misquoted or taken out of context in an interview published Wednesday in USA Today.

Carson, fired Nov. 5 in the middle of his second season with the Browns, was quoted as saying he had no real power -- that it lies with owner Art Modell and executive vice presidents Jim Bailey and Ernie Accorsi.

"They like numbers," Carson was quoted as saying. "They just didn't want me to have any power."

USA Today also quoted Carson as saying Accorsi is "not a football man," that pro personnel director Mike Lombardi had too much authority and that new coach Jim Shofner would be a victim of the same power game.

Modell refused to comment on the article.

Carson, reached Wednesday in Palm Springs, Calif., by the Plain Dealer, said the conversation was off the record and that he had stressed that during two conversations. He also said the quotes were taken out of context and some are inaccurate.

Bailey told the Plain Dealer the Browns will determine if Carson's comments violated his contract, which includes a clause that says it will be fulfilled only if he does not say anything "damaging or deleterious" about the organization or its members.

Carson's three-year deal runs through next season. It pays an estimated $350,000 this season and $400,000 next season. The Browns said they sent him at least two certified letters reminding him of the clause.