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Browns Sign Pope, Lomas Brown

Veterans Marquez Pope and Lomas Brown signed as free agents with the expansion Cleveland Browns.

Pope, a seven-year NFL veteran who played for San Francisco, the Rams and San Diego, is yet another former 49er to sign with Cleveland. The Browns' front office, led by president Carmen Policy and director of football operations Dwight Clark, has a distinct 49ers flavor.

Pope, 28, got a two-year deal worth nearly $5 million. He was bothered by injuries for much of 1998. He also played with the Chargers in 1992-93 and with the Los Angeles Rams in 1994 before signing with the 49ers.

"Marquez bolsters our defensive unit with his speed and tenacious approach to the game," Clark said.

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Brown signed a three-year deal worth $10.75 million deal, with a $3 million signing bonus - plus a provision that Brown will be the first player introduced at Cleveland's home opener next season.

"Any time that you are able to add a Pro Bowl player to your roster, you have made a significant addition to your football team," Clark said. "Lomas will solidify our offensive line, which we are extremely pleased with."

Brown admitted it was difficult to leave Arizona.

"I know what I'm doing is a hard step. It wasn't just about money," said Brown, 36, a 14-year pro who wanted to move closer to his business interests in Detroit.

A fixture at left tackle with the Cardinals the last three seasons after 11 with the Lions, Brown reconsidered his decision to join Cleveland on Tuesday. Arizona offered a $2 million signing bonus and a two-year deal said to be about the equal of Cleveland's first two years, but with more money for the coming season.

"The thing that's disappointing is that is we could have had this done a long time ago," Brown said of his negotiations with the Cardinals. "The deal they finally took to the table is the exact same offer we made to them at the scouting combine (last month). They pretty much sat on the deal. By the time they got back to us, Cleveland was in the ballgame."

The Browns also announced the hiring of Joe Collins, coordinator of pro personnel for the 49ers, as player personnel director, and Douglas C. Jacobs, as vice president-finance and treasurer.

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