Browns Top Receiver May Be On Trade Block

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Trade rumors are swirling around Kevin Johnson, the Cleveland Browns' top wide receiver, for the second straight year.

The Browns and Johnson's agent, Tom Condon, have been unable to agree on a contract extension for the fourth-year wideout, and Condon is contacting other teams about the possibility of a trade, Johnson said.

Coach Butch Davis was not immediately available to comment on Johnson's status.

"We want Kevin on this team," Browns president Carmen Policy said last month. "We'd like to know he'll be here for several seasons."

Johnson's contract expires at the end of this year. He reportedly is seeking a three-year extension worth $14.5 million with a $5 million signing bonus.

Johnson and his agent recently turned down a three-year, $10 million offer from the Browns.

During last season's training camp, the Browns began offering up the wide receiver to various NFL teams. No deal ever was made, but the fact that their top receiver was on the trading block created a buzz throughout the city.

"Obviously what happened a year ago at this time has had an effect. That (led) to my discouragement a little bit. You start to see other sides, and not just the football side of things," Johnson said Thursday. "I guess I was just a young, dumb player who thought he would just come in here and play football."

As the Browns prepared for the second of their four preseason games, a home game against Detroit Saturday night, Johnson said money's not his primary concern.

"I just want to feel wanted," he said.

Completing a trade at the end of training camp might not be easy. Many teams either have their rosters set or do not have the salary-cap room to offer Johnson a new contract. The Browns also could reject a trade offer.

Johnson was the team's second-round draft pick in 1999 and has been a favorite target of quarterback Tim Couch since. In three years, he's had 207 catches for 2,752 yards and 17 touchdowns. Last year, he led the team with 84 catches for 1,097 yards and nine touchdowns.

Johnson said he is not letting contract uncertainty affect his play.

"As long as I'm here, I feel I'm going to play well," he said. "Wherever I'm at, I'm going to play well."

He said he would prefer to stay in Cleveland but will go elsewhere if he can't reach a deal with the Browns.

"I want to know I'm part of the future, considering what happened last year at this time," Johnson said. "I have one year left on my deal. Am I going to be here? I don't know. Am I going to be somewhere else? I don't know."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)