"I will say right now, I'm certain that Bill Belichick will coach this team next year. I'm a great believer in continuity. I think he's done a good job," owner Art Modell said yesterday after he announced he's moving the team to Baltimore next year.
But Modell is so concerned about the state of the team that he plans to meet with the players soon. The Browns appeared listless and distracted in their 37-10 loss to the Houston Oilers Sunday.
With the team at 4-5 going into a game with the Pittsburgh Steelers next Monday night, Modell is worried about a quick fade from the playoff race, and so is intent on getting the players' focus back on football.
"I'm going to try to avert that [a collapse] if I can," he said. "I have to go in and talk to them and say, 'Look, you shouldn't be concerned.' They don't know who's going to be traded next year. It's a transient business. They shouldn't be concerned about what I'm doing; just concentrate on doing their job."
Modell obviously was upset about the team's showing against the Oilers.
"Last Sunday was deplorable," he said. "They went through the motions. They didn't play."
If the Browns can beat the Steelers, the teams will be tied for the AFC Central lead with a 5-5 record with six games left.