QB quandary: Delhomme visiting Browns, but what about Quinn?

CLEVELAND -- The Browns spent another day looking for a new quarterback by meeting with an older one.

Free agent Jake Delhomme, released by the Carolina Panthers last week after seven seasons, spent Thursday with the perpetually rebuilding Browns, who have been busy this week trying to improve their unstable situation at quarterback.

The Browns confirmed that Delhomme, 35, was at the team's offices in Berea, Ohio. They also said free-agent tight end Ben Watson and running back Justin Fargas met with coach Eric Mangini and front-office personnel.

The Browns have been actively shopping for a quarterback, a position they haven't been able to adequately fill since their NFL expansion return in 1999. Earlier this week, the team acquired backup Seneca Wallace in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks and released Derek Anderson, who took a swipe at Cleveland fans on his way out of town.

The Browns' interest in Delhomme seems to indicate a reluctance to hand the starting job back to Quinn, who has struggled as a pro. Quinn is just 3-9 in 12 career starts with Cleveland, but some of the former Notre Dame star's inconsistency probably can be attributed to the Browns' lack of talent, as well as coaching and front-office changes in recent years.

Agent Rick Smith wouldn't comment on Delhomme's visit to Cleveland.

Quinn was rumored to be on the trading block last year, but the Browns didn't find a suitable deal, and he began the 2009 season as their starter. He was replaced just two-plus game games in by Anderson, who couldn't hold down the job and eventually was benched.

New Browns president Mike Holmgren, who has spent his career developing quarterbacks, has yet to endorse Quinn, another sign that the team might be trying to trade him.

Holmgren knows that finding a competent quarterback is essential to any team's success.

"It's a huge decision," Holmgren said at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. "It's the most important decision on the football team, and the great teams have that guy."

It's not known if the Browns have offered Delhomme a contract. If he's signed by the team, he could serve as a mentor for Quinn or possibly take over as starter while Cleveland grooms another quarterback. The Browns currently have 11 draft picks, and it's possible they could use a high one on a prospect.

Delhomme went 58-40 in seven seasons as the Panthers' starter and led them to their only Super Bowl appearance in his first season. However, he threw 18 interceptions last season and was cut so the Panthers could trim payroll and promote Matt Moore to starter.

Delhomme holds almost every Panthers passing record, and he broke down in tears after he was released last week as he said goodbye to Carolina fans.

Delhomme will visit his first NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, on Friday, coach Sean Payton said. The Saints are looking for someone to back up Drew Brees. Last year's No. 2 quarterback, Mark Brunell, also could return, but he's a free agent.

Fargas was released last week by the Oakland Raiders, who said he failed a physical and cut him before they had to pay him a $1.7 million bonus.

Fargas was Oakland's second-leading rusher with 491 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had led the team in rushing the previous three seasons, gaining a career-best 1,009 yards in 2007. He has rushed for 3,369 yards in seven seasons.

The Browns released veteran Jamal Lewis last month and are looking for a back to complement Jerome Harrison.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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