Brian Hartline left Ohio State early after spending a year with then-freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Now, after spending part of 2015 as NFL teammate and fellow wide receiver, Hartline has been cut by the Browns.

Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins came away from the first week of Browns full-squad spring practice pleasantly surprised.

The team looked more crisp than one might have imagined, they agreed.

Hartline and his fiancee took a weekend break at an Ohio lake where he has a cabin. His father, Dale, "dewinterized" his boat, and Brian planned to do some hanging out with some old GlenOak pals while getting ready for Week 2 of spring practice.

The boat is good to go, but Brian Hartline isn't a Brown any more. The team released him Monday, stirring a mixture of reaction among Browns fans. 

Dale Hartline said the news came as a surprise. He said his son, usually one to take things in stride, did so in this case. He will look for a new team, a year after the Browns, Patriots and others considered him in free agency.

Hartline, who will turn 30 this year and is hoping for an eighth NFL season, got caught in a youth movement and a regime change.


He emerged as a good slot receiver late last season under head coach Mike Pettine, but the team drafted four players at his position for new head coach Hue Jackson.

Unlike veterans Terrelle Pryor and Andrew Hawkins, Hartline does not have a past with Jackson. This is an odd spot for Hartline, who was at Ohio State in 2008 when Pryor started at quarterback as a freshman. Hartline left the Buckeyes early to enter the NFL draft. Now, he has lost a job partly because of the presence of Pryor, who converted to wide receiver last year.

Before Pryor converted to receiver, he spent time in the Bengals' 2015 camp. His offensive coordinator was Jackson.

Hawkins spent three years with Jackson in Cincinnati, one of them in which Hawkins caught 51 passes, one with Jackson as his offensive coordinator. Hawkins jumped to the Browns as a free agent in 2014 and caught 63 passes. His 2015 season was marred by injuries, one of the reasons Hartline got an extended look as a slot receiver. After the role change, Hartline delivered a late-season, four-game stretch in which he caught 30 passes.

Hartline broke a collarbone after making eight catches against San Francisco. He missed the last three games.

After a spring practice last week in which Hartline made a circus catch, The Repository asked Jackson for his take on Hartline. The coach said:

"I just see a bunch of guys competing. It's so early. Sometimes everybody thinks you put a guy out there (and) it's his position. I don't look at it that way. I just think those guys are going to earn the right to play on this team ... all of them.

"Hartline is a pro. He's been through it. He's had success. He knows how to play, and there's something to that. At the same time, he knows that each and every day he's going to have to go out there and compete, because everybody's trying to win a spot."

It remains to be seen how much of a leg up the four rookie draft picks (Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Jordan Payton, Rashard Higgins) have in winning spots. All were drafted within the first five rounds. The 2015 Browns did cut rookie wideout Vince Mayle, a fourth-round pick, but that was a different regime.


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