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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-23

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-23

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-10-23
Players in the Browns locker room Wednesday had little reaction to teammate Kellen Winslow being suspended for the game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday.

The suspension was announced Tuesday in a terse release by General Manager Phil Savage, who was the main target of Winslow's criticism last Sunday in the visitor's locker room in FedEx Field.

Winslow is appealing his suspension. A hearing in front of an arbitrator is expected before Sunday. The NFLPA will represent Winslow and the NFL Management Council will represent the Browns.

The Browns are 2-4 and still hope to make the playoffs. Winslow leads the Browns with 21 catches despite missing the game against the Giants with an illness that the team and Winslow agreed to keep secret until Winslow decided last Sunday night to go public with the fact he has a staph infection. Winslow, about 30 minutes after the Browns lost 14-11 to the Redskins, implied he got it at the Browns facility in Berea and that the organization was trying to keep the other players in the dark.

Winslow said he is made to feel "like a piece of meat" and that he sometimes doesn't feel like part of the team. He was hospitalized for three nights with his illness and was miffed because Savage did not call or visit. Savage was on a scouting trip in California when Winslow was in the hospital.

"Nobody knew that I had staph on the team because the Browns didn't want it to get out," Winslow said Sunday night. "But it's my teammates' right to know what's going on at the facility to protect them. Their safety is at risk, too, and I didn't agree with the Cleveland Browns because they are protecting the organization and not the players."

Winslow was stricken with staph infection following his motorcycle accident in 2005. Former Browns Ben Taylor, Brian Russell and LeCharles Bentley have also been hit with staph. So have current members Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius.

The Browns have made efforts to curb staph by having their facility sprayed with a preventative agent and by educating players.

"Kellen has expressed his desire to be a productive member of the Cleveland Browns," Savage said in his statement. "His comments and behavior on Sunday evening, however, were unwarranted, inappropriate, and unnecessarily disparaging to our organization.

"His statements brought unjustified negative attention to our organization, and violated the team-first concept of our football squad. Therefore, disciplinary action will be taken in the form of a one-game suspension without pay for conduct detrimental to the club."

Asked about the suspension, center and offensive co-captain Hank Fraley said:

"Anybody have any questions about Jacksonville?"

Asked the same question, defensive co-captain Andra Davis said:

"My reaction is Fred Taylor is a heckuva running back. They have a tremendous one-two punch with him and Maurice Jones-Drew."

The Browns played the Giants without Winslow while he was recovering from his illness and won 35-14. They are hopeful the offense can be as productive Sunday.

The suspension is costing Winslow $235,294.12, which is 1/17th of his $4 million salary. He is expected to appeal the suspension to have the fine reduced or eliminated.

"I would like to say that I am disappointed that my organization felt the need to suspend me for speaking out regarding my medical situation with staph," Winslow said in a statement released by his publicist, Denise White. "Please understand I care deeply for my organization, my teammates, and the Browns fans. At no time was I ever trying to cause distress for the team or be a distraction but the fact remains there is a health issue that needs to be addressed further."

SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. The Jaguars lead the series, 8-2. It was good riddance for the Browns when realignment sent the Jaguars to the AFC South and the Browns to the AFC North in 2002. When both teams were in the same division the Browns were 1-7 against Jacksonville.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 23, 2008

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David McMillan Name: David McMillan
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