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Browns match offer sheet for center Mack

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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns have matched Jacksonville’s offer sheet for Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and will keep one of their top players.

Mack signed a five-year, $42 million offer from the Jaguars on Friday, and the Browns matched the deal just a few hours later.

The 28-year-old Mack will receive $26 million guaranteed in the deal, which he can void after two seasons. Also, the Browns are not allowed to tag or trade him.

Cleveland’s decision to keep Mack ends a strange saga that began when the club placed a $10 million transition tag on him at the outset of free agency. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam repeatedly pledged is commitment to hanging on to Mack and kept his word.

“We have talked about keeping our own players and this is a positive for us,” general manager Ray Farmer said. “Alex is a quality person and player that truly brings to life what playing like a Brown means.

“The ending is positive for everyone. Keeping our young, good nucleus of players is vital for clubs and specifically the Browns, and therefore this is a good step.”

Mack has not missed a snap in five seasons with the Browns, who drafted him in the first round in 2009.

Online: AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL