CLEVELAND (AP) – Wide receiver Andre’ Davis, pushed to the bottom of Cleveland’s depth chart, was traded Monday to the New England Patriots by the Browns for an undisclosed draft pick.

Davis, a speedy former second-round selection in 2002 who had, become a forgotten man with Cleveland.

His departure continues an overhaul of the Browns’ roster by general manager Phil Savage, who since taking over in January, has released or traded 21 players who started at least one game last season.

“With Andre’s contract being up, there really wasn’t a long-term plan for him here,” Savage said. “So why not try to get something for him?”

In New England, Davis will get a fresh start with a consistent winner, something the Browns are years away from becoming. He adds a veteran presence to an already-deep receiving corps. He arrived at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Monday to begin practicing with the Super Bowl champions.

“Whatever I can do, I’m going to make sure that I do it to the best of my ability and make sure that I’m a smart player because I know (Patriots coach) Bill Belichick wants smart players,” he said.

Davis had been mentioned in trade talks for several months. He became expendable after the Browns drafted rookie Braylon Edwards, and Antonio Bryant and Dennis Northcutt both emerged during training camp.

Davis also had lost his job as Cleveland’s No. 1 kick returner to rookie Joshua Cribbs.

Last week, the Browns gave the 26-year-old Davis and his agent, Kennard McGuire, permission to seek a trade. The Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks also expressed interest.

“All he wanted was an opportunity to go out and utilize the talents he has shown he has,” McGuire said. “The Browns were great about giving Andre’ a chance to find another place to play.”

Davis was selected in the second round (No. 47 overall) of the 2002 draft by former Browns coach Butch Davis, who thought the former Virginia Tech track star’s speed would open things up for Cleveland’s offense.

However, injuries have slowed Davis’ development.

Because of a nagging toe injury, he started only seven games and had 16 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns last season. One of those TDs was a 99-yarder from Jeff Garcia, the longest pass play in Browns history.

Davis’ days seemed numbered in Cleveland when first-year Browns coach Romeo Crennel said the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder was having “an average camp.” Crennel was New England’s defensive coordinator the past four seasons.

Davis will have to fight for a roster spot with New England.

Deion Branch, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, and David Givens likely will start for the Patriots. The team also has 13-year veteran Troy Brown, third-year pro Bethel Johnson, veteran free agents Tim Dwight and David Terrell, and youngsters P.K. Sam, Jason Anderson and Brandon “Bam” Childress.

“He’s got some size. He’s a fast guy,” Belichick said of Davis. “He’s got some experience on special teams. We’ll put him into the mix and see what he can do.”

Davis, eligible for free agency next year, got off to a strong start as a rookie with Cleveland. He scored a TD in his first three games, becoming just the sixth rookie since 1970 to begin his career that way.

In 2003, Davis had 40 catches for 576 yards and five TDs.

“I’m ready to learn,” Davis said. “I think I’m a smart guy. It’s going to be a little bit of a whirlwind, but I think I’m up for this challenge.”

AP-ES-08-22-05 1911EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.