Browns send Jadeveon Clowney home after criticizing team; unlikely to play at Steelers


Jadeveon Clowney’s final play with the Cleveland Browns happened off the field: a public blow born of frustration and disappointment.

The team countered accordingly.

Clowney was sent home from practice Friday, a day after harshly criticizing the organization and coaching staff in an explosive interview that effectively ended his second season in Cleveland just before the finale in Pittsburgh.

Coach Kevin Stefanski declined to directly address Clowney’s status — or provide any details about his decision to punish the defensive end — as the Browns (7-9), who always seem to be embroiled in drama , were preparing to face the Steelers (8-8). ) Sunday.

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However, Stefanski indicated that Clowney will not be on the trip.

“Nothing comes above the team,” he said.

Angry that he wasn’t showing up more in Cleveland’s defense, Clowney said in an interview Thursday with cleveland.com that he didn’t feel appreciated and was “95 percent sure” he wouldn’t be back for a third season.

Clowney further claimed that the Browns had passed on four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett and were focused solely on getting him into the Hall of Fame. He added that he needs to be with “someone who believes in me and my ability.”

Clowney made it clear he has no personal issue with Garrett, who has 15 sacks heading into the Week 18 matchup with Pittsburgh.

Garrett said he understood Clowney wanted to be more productive, but was disappointed in how his teammate expressed it.

“This is our team,” Garrett said. “He’s my brother. He’s my teammate and I wish we could have talked about that man-to-man and also with us as coaches. I could have sat us all down and had a conversation and probably that would have been the way I would have handled it.

“But hindsight is 20/20. He’s feeling a lot of emotion from what’s been an up-and-down season and there’s no perfect way to handle things. But I wish he’d handled it a little differently.” .

Garrett said his relationship with Clowney remains “cordial” and that he did not take the comments into account.

Asked if he would welcome Clowney back at some point, Garrett said, “We want volunteers, not hostages.”

“If you feel like nobody believes in you here,” Garrett said, “then you go where you feel you’re wanted, loved and appreciated.”

“We started making plays and started filming”

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Clowney matched his career high with nine sacks last season. Earlier this season, he expressed disappointment that the Browns were changing their mission in games to give Garrett more favorable matchups.

Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin revealed that Clowney refused to play any down other than third down in the Oct. 23 game at the Baltimore Ravens. He was held out of the first series the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals for his behavior.

Kiffin said the decision to move Garrett is a natural one.

“We’re going to put our best player in the best position to win,” he said.

Kiffin also disagreed with Clowney’s claim that Garrett was treated differently.

“It was a frustrating season for all of us, everyone in this organization, defensively and for him,” Kiffin said. “Obviously, he didn’t have the production he had last year, so he’s frustrated. I don’t agree with the way he did it, but we’re here today to deal with it.”

Clowney arrived at the Browns’ facility and attended a position meeting with his fellow defensive linemen before being told to leave.

The turmoil surrounding Clowney is similar to last season’s messy situation with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was suspended by the Browns and eventually traded after weeks of drama.

Stefanski doesn’t think there’s a disconnect between his players and staff.

“Every team, all 32, we all deal with things throughout the season,” he said. “Sometimes they stay home and you take care of them, and sometimes you don’t. This is very much like family. This is what we do. We operate as a family. Sometimes you make tough decisions, but that’s the what we are. trying to do.”

Clowney was the No. 1 overall pick in 2014 by Houston. He spent five seasons with the Texans before playing one year each with the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans.

Associated Press report.

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