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After unsuccessfully trying to trade for defensive line help,...

By ROBERTO DIAS, UPI Sports Writer

BEREA, Ohio -- After unsuccessfully trying to trade for defensive line help, the Cleveland Browns waived seven players Tuesday, including punter-kicker Steve Cox, quarterback Terry Nugent and linebacker Dick Ambrose.

Also waived were veteran linebacker David Marshall, 12th-round draft pick Shane Swanson of Nebraska, rookie free agent linebacker Jon Craver of James Madison and rookie nose tackle Stewart Tolle.

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Three players were placed on injured reserve: veteran safety Greg Best (knee), rookie free agent defensive lineman David Morrill of Ohio State (knee) and rookie free agent running back Herman Fontenot of Louisiana State.

The moves brought the Browns' roster to 50; five more players must be cut by next Monday to reach the regular-season limit 45.

Cox was beaten out by Jeff Gossett, who became the Browns' punter in 1983 when Cox missed the season due to brain surgery.

'I think Jeff gets the punts off quicker and higher than Steve,' said Cleveland coach Marty Schottenheimer. 'He put four of 13 punts inside the opponent's 20.

'We really didn't afford Steve any opportunities in kicking. We have confidence in Matt (Bahr).'

Gossett, 28, spent the past two seasons with Chicago and Portland of the U.S. Football League.

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'I'm glad that's over,' said Gossett, a former third baseman in the New York Mets' farm chain. 'I'm glad to be back in the NFL, glad to be back with the Browns.'

Cox averaged 42.0 yards on 190 punts in his career. The Arkansas product also connected on two field goals, including the second longest in NFL history when he booted a 60-yarder at Cincinnati last year.

'I'll try and hook on with somebody else,' said Cox. 'Other than that, I don't know what to say except goodbye and good luck.'

Nugent, signed as a free agent from Colorado State last year, never played a down with the Browns.

'So, we still have Gary Danielson, Bernie Kosar and Paul McDonald in camp,' said Schottenheimer. 'It's 50-50 whether we'l keep three quarterbacks, so it's 50-50 whether we'll keep Paul.

'I think Terry Nugent would probably be the first guy I'd call if I needed a quarterback later on.'

Earlier, a red-eyed Schottenheimer said Ambrose, who missed the entire 1984 season following surgery to repair complications from a broken ankle the previous year, 'made a hell of an attempt to come back, but time just ran out on him.'

The 32-year-old Ambrose was 'very practical about his fate,' said the coach.

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Ambrose, reached at his Westlake, Ohio, home, said he 'wasn't bitter in the slightest.'

'I gave it my best shot,' said the Browns' 12th-round pick in 1975. 'It wasn't good enough, and I can live with that. I'll always be a Cleveland Browns' fan.'

Ambrose's departure was hastened by the performance of linebacker Aaron Brown who signed as a free agent from Winnipeg of the Canadian Football League.

'Our prime focus is to bring in a defensive lineman by Friday,' said Schottenheimer. 'We're watching the waiver wire; we're talking to other teams.'

Of those placed on injured reserve, Morrill's injury is the most significant.

'Dave suffered severe ligament damage and will miss the entire season,' said Schottenheimer. 'He'll be operated on tomorrow (Wednesday) by Dr. John Bergfeld at the Cleveland Clinic.'

Schottenheimer said rookie running back Eddie Colson underwent knee surgery Monday and faces nine months of rehabilitation.

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