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Turning The Page On LeBron James: Cleveland Browns Edition

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IJuly 10, 2010

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 29:  Joshua Cribbs #10 of  the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The past is the past, you can't do anything to change it.

In the grand scheme of things, the whole LeBron James issue doesn't mean that much to people who don't follow basketball in Cleveland other than in the sense "The Decision" gets put up on the same shelf as "The Drive," "The Fumble," and "The Shot," among others.

Cleveland Browns fans are lucky in the sense their teams have been blessed with some very loyal players.

In the 1980s, it was Bernie Kosar, who did everything but put a gun to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle's head in order to play for the Cleveland Browns.

Kosar grew up in Northeast Ohio. A Browns fan at heart, Kosar did everything he could to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland before Bill Belichick's ego decided this town wasn't big enough for the two of them.

Kosar was abruptly fired for the now infamous "diminishing skills" cover that no one bought in the slightest.

Kosar recently did a brief interview with the Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto, which you can read here , and it shows anyone with half a brain why Kosar is a class act, and James is now deservedly being labelled a cowardly quitter with no class whatsoever.

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Now the Browns have Joshua Cribbs, freshly signed to a new deal that most likely will keep him in a Browns uniform for the rest of his career.

Cribbs didn't grow up around Cleveland, but he went to college at nearby Kent State University. While there, it has become obvious he learned how passionate Cleveland fans can be, and what it would mean to be successful in a Cleveland sports franchise.

Cribbs signed with the Browns in 2005 as an undrafted free agent, and the rest is history.

His recent contract issues highlight the difference between Cribbs and a guy like James. Cribbs went out of his way to stay a Cleveland Brown. Even though he still was under contract for the upcoming season, he could've easily thrown a fit and forced the issue in a negative manner.

Instead, he did things mostly right, with a few ill-advised tweets admittedly. Most importantly, though, he never strung the fans of Cleveland along. No matter what happened, Cribbs made sure the fans of Cleveland knew where he stood.

Cribbs didn't play coy about any plans had contract negotiations fallen through. He told everyone he wouldn't play, end of story.

There was no added drama, no TV special, and most importantly, no false promises.

Cribbs was very clear it was all about his contract, and that he wanted to remain in Cleveland. But business is business and he was savvy enough to know Cleveland fans understand this.

To digress a moment, former Cleveland Indians sluggers Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez illustrate this point just as well.

When Ramirez left Cleveland, he said he wanted to stay, but he was going to the team that paid him the most. That team was Boston, there were no hard feelings, and Ramirez always receives a warm welcome whenever he plays here.

Thome repeatedly said it was not about the money and that he was determined to finish out his career with the Indians. But in the end, it was all about the money and Thome is roundly jeered whenever he returns to Cleveland.

Thome lied to the fans, and that forever will be his legacy in Cleveland.

James lied about almost everything, quit on the team in the playoffs, and then finished it off by leaving town in the worst way possible.

Training Camp starts July 31, and Cribbs will be on the field, doing everything he can to bring Cleveland a championship.

There's something to be said for a little class.