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Browns add receivers Austin, Bennett

05/16/2014, 12:38am EDT
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Backup Plan: Browns sign free agent WRs Austin, Bennett, protection if Josh Gordon suspended

CLEVELAND — The Browns are acting as if Josh Gordon is already gone.

With the status of their Pro Bowl wide receiver still unclear for next season, the team added two veteran free-agent wide receivers Thursday, agreeing to terms with Miles Austin and signing Earl Bennett.

Both players give the Browns insurance in case Gordon, the team’s top playmaker who led the NFL in yards receiving last season, is suspended for a year after reportedly failing another drug test.

Austin and Bennett have been available since March, but the Browns passed on them in favor of signing veteran Nate Burleson to challenge Greg Little for the No. 2 receiver’s spot. However, a report that Gordon is facing a one-year suspension forced the Browns to find some quality help and general manager Ray Farmer added Miles and Bennett.

A two-time Pro Bowl player, Austin was released by Dallas in March in a salary-cap move. The 29-year-old played in just 11 games last season because of hamstring injuries.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Austin was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He appeared in 106 games, recording 301 catches for 4,481 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Miles had his best season in 2009, when he had 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The 27-year-old Bennett has made 29 starts in six pro seasons — all with the Chicago Bears. He has 185 career receptions for 2,277 yards with 12 touchdowns. Last season, he had 32 receptions for 243 yards and four TDs in 15 games.

The league has not commented on Gordon’s situation.

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Tag(s): Pro