Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was sent home Friday for critical comments and openly questioning whether Cleveland put him in position to succeed.
Clowney told Cleveland.com it has become apparent the Browns have “their own guys, and I ain’t one of them, so it’s time for me to get my exit slip.”
The comments, published Thursday, pointed to the Browns focusing gameplans around defensive end Myles Garrett. Garrett has 15 sacks and is one of the leading candidates for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Clowney has just two sacks in 12 games and his status for Sunday’s regular-season finale at Pittsburgh is in doubt based on the team blocking him from the facility on Friday.
Clowney, 29, felt he wasn’t getting ample support from coaches, he said, adding he was “95 percent sure I won’t be back.”
“I just feel like I need to be around somebody that believes in me and my ability,” Clowney said. “(It can’t) just be me believing in myself. I believe in myself more than anybody.”
The former No. 1 overall pick has signed a one-year deal each of the past four offseasons. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Clowney has never reached 10 sacks in a single season since entering the league with the Houston Texans in 2014.
Cleveland.com reported Clowney drew a line in the sand with coaches before Week 15 against Baltimore. He said coaches asked him to switch defensive end positions with Garrett after they practiced on one side all week. Clowney resisted and instead played only on third downs.
“I’m not doing that —-. I’m old. I’ve done my job,” Clowney told Cleveland.com. “I don’t have time for that. I’ve made my money. I’m doing this because I love the game but keep (doing things like that) and making me not love the game.”
–Field Level Media
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson spoke to reporters on Thursday for the first time since returning from his 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Watson was quick to express his excitement to return to the field and his appreciation for his teammates and the Browns organization as well as the fans in Cleveland.
“I understand that you guys have a lot of questions, but with my legal team and my clinical team, there’s only football questions that I can really address at this time,” Watson said.
Watson, 27, was suspended and fined $5 million in August for off-field conduct violations related to “predatory” behavior involving more than two dozen women who alleged sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.
On Thursday, Watson deflected several questions that dealt with matters off the field. His primary focus, he said, was his on-field return on Sunday against the Houston Texans, the team that selected him with the top overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and ultimately traded him to the Browns last March.
He declined to address whether he had learned anything from the league-mandated counseling that accompanied his suspension.
“That’s more in that phase of clinical and legal stuff,” Watson said. “I’ve been advised to stay away from that and keep that personal. … I’m focusing on football. That’s my main focus is football and preparing to be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns so I can execute the game plan to try to get a win this Sunday.”
The Browns (4-7) are 1-4 on the road heading into Sunday’s game against the Texans (1-9-1).
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Watson has not played in a game since Jan. 3, 2021.
Watson completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions in four seasons with Houston. He led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He also has rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores in his career, and he owns a 28-25 regular-season record as a starter.
–Field Level Media
The Cleveland Browns activated rookie running back Jerome Ford from injured reserve among a series of roster moves on Saturday.
Ford, a fifth-round draft pick, sustained an ankle injury at Atlanta in Week 4 and was placed on IR on Oct. 4. He has returned six kickoffs for 145 yards (24.2 average) in four games.
Coming off a bye week, the Browns (3-5) also signed defensive tackle Roderick Perry II to the active roster from the practice squad for Sunday’s road game against the Miami Dolphins (6-3).
Cleveland also waived defensive end Isaac Rochell and elevated linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. and tight end Miller Forristall from the practice squad.
–Field Level Media
The Cleveland Browns placed leading tackler Jacob Phillips on injured reserve Wednesday with what is expected to be a season-ending pectoral injury.
The 23-year-old linebacker recorded seven tackles in Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens before exiting with the injury.
Phillips has 46 tackles and two sacks in seven games (four starts) this season. He has 88 tackles and three sacks in 20 games (eight starts) since the Browns drafted him in the third round in 2020.
“I feel for all of our guys when they are going through these,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “It’s not fun to be hurt. It’s not fun to be in the training room. It’s not fun to go get surgery. Unfortunately, Jacob has had to do that. I know this, he responds when he has to do this. He works like crazy. I know he’ll work like crazy to get back out there.”
Phillips missed the first 12 games last season with a biceps injury.
Phillips had moved into the starting role at middle linebacker after Anthony Walker Jr. suffered a season-ending quad injury in Week 3.
Former Pro Bowler Deion Jones, acquired in an Oct. 10 trade with the Atlanta Falcons, is expected to take over that role in Phillips’ absence.
–Field Level Media
Austin Ekeler rushed for 173 yards with a touchdown and the visiting Los Angeles Chargers held on for a 30-28 win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Cleveland kicker Cade York missed a 54-yard field goal with 11 seconds left as Los Angeles sealed the victory despite turning the ball over on downs near midfield with just over a minute remaining.
Justin Herbert completed 22 of 34 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown, and Mike Williams caught 10 passes for 134 yards for the Chargers (3-2), who climbed out of an early 14-0 deficit.
Cleveland running back Nick Chubb surpassed 100 rushing yards for the fourth time in five games. He finished with 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Browns (2-3).
Chargers kicker Taylor Bertolet kicked his third field goal of the game, a 27-yarder, to give the Chargers a 30-28 lead with 9:29 remaining.
The Chargers went for it on 4th and 2 from the Los Angeles 46 with 1:13 left and Herbert threw incomplete, setting up Cleveland’s potential winning field-goal try.
The Browns took a 21-17 lead into the half behind 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Chubb.
Ekeler scored on a 22-yard touchdown run to give the Chargers a 24-21 lead with 10:21 left in the third quarter.
Bertolet’s 25-yard field goal stretched the lead to 27-21 with 5:47 left in the third quarter. Bertolet was signed to the practice squad earlier in the week because Dustin Hopkins has a quad injury.
The Browns regainedk the lead 28-27 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Kareem Hunt with 55 seconds left in the third.
Chubb scored on a 41-yard run to give the Browns a 7-0 lead with 12:01 left in the first quarter.
Amari Cooper caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to stretch the lead to 14-0 lead with 4:01 left in the opening quarter.
Chargers backup running back Joshua Kelley scored on a 5-yard run to make it 14-10 with 13:39 left in the first half.
The Chargers then put together a 99-yard drive and took a 17-14 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Ekeler with 5:51 left in the half.
Chubb came back with a 2-yard touchdown run to move the Browns back in front 21-17 with 2:55 left in the first half.
–Field Level Media