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Heckert: Browns won't chase Peyton Manning

The pipe dream that was Peyton Manning-to-the-Browns is over before it began. Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert, on the mend from heart surgery, dismissed the idea of entering the chase for the ex-Colts quarterback, now a free agent.

"That's probably not a direction we're going to go," Heckert told The Plain Dealer on Thursday, hammering home the reality that the Browns are unlikely to sign a big-name free-agent quarterback this offseason.

It's unlikely Manning was intrigued by the thought of playing for an under-construction Browns team with a distinct lack of weapons on offense, but what about Baylor's Robert Griffin III?

RG3's on Cleveland's radar, but Heckert clarified that the Baylor quarterback isn't the only passer the Browns find intriguing in next month's draft.

The GM "gushed about" Oklahoma State's Brandon Weedon, and added him to a list of four quarterbacks the Browns favor, including Stanford's Andrew Luck, Griffin and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill.

"I really like (Weedon) a lot," Heckert said. "We're going to see him (throw) tomorrow (at his Pro Day). He's mature and he's telling you it's a positive. He's a really interesting guy. He's super smart."

Lost in all of this is Colt McCoy, the gritty if underwhelming starter who soldiered through a trying 2011 season with the Browns.

"We still think Colt can play in this league and it's our job to help him out," Heckert said, adding that McCoy could see major improvement, "If we catch more balls, if we protect him more."

Browns fans will agree: Two phases of the game in short supply in Cleveland for far too long.

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