Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns do football things, people get worked up

The Cleveland Browns closed out training camp on Wednesday by giving the media something to blow out of proportion.

Coach Pat Shurmur got into it with starting corner back Joe Haden during the morning practice and, after a few choice words, sent Haden to the locker room. The fracas all started when Haden brought down wide receiver Travis Benjamin after a play.

“I think it’s important that we practice smart,” Shurmur said in his daily press conference. “I think that is what’s important. I think that you have to be able to practice at game speed. You win and lose in practice. I think it’s important that guys understand that. I want all of our guys to make it to the horse race. Safety – everything I do I think about these players and this team. I told them that. All my thoughts revolve around our players and our team. I think it’s very important that we practice fast and we’re smart.”

The Browns didn’t make Haden – who was back on the field for the afternoon session – available to the media, but several players weighed in to point out that it was just part of training camp life.

“From a defensive standpoint, us guys are gonna compete, and it’s two guys competing for the ball,” middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson told The Beacon Journal. “We want to keep every guy up, keep guys healthy, and sometimes those things happen and sometimes tempers flare. It’s day 21 in camp. Everybody’s running on fumes, not getting enough sleep. So you know it happens, and once we leave the football field and head into the building, it’s all over with.”

“Those are two professional men and they’ll handle that situation accordingly,” corner back Sheldon Brown told The Plain Dealer. “It’s a long time for a bunch of men to be together and seeing one another. Things happen and it is what it is. They are two grown men and they’ll handle it. (This)  speaks volumes of both guys, how competitive each one of them is. And you want that. You don’t want people out here just going through the motions. Why would you even be doing it?”

“Boys will be boys,” wide receiver Josh Cribbs told The Beacon Journal. “It’s football. It’s the nature of football. We love it. They will hug and make up, no problem. Head coach is the head coach. He has to defuse a situation. … It’s like players getting into fights in practice. They’re in the locker room laughing, joking and singing songs together. It’s the same with our coaches.”

The fact that this kind of stuff happens all the time in practice didn’t stop some people from getting worked up about it, with ESPN”s Jamison Hensley taking the prize for the most absurd reaction to the incident. Hensley takes Haden to task for not being a “leader” and then takes it to the next level, writing that:

“It’s troublesome to see Haden exchanging heated words with coach Pat Shumur on the practice field. Have you heard of Ray Lewis or James Harrison doing this? This exchange definitely doesn’t help Shurmur, whose future is already uncertain with the change of ownership.”

Yes, because we should all hope Haden becomes someone who had some kind of role in a double-murder or a player who intentionally injures opposing players.

The regular season can’t get here soon enough.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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