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Cleveland Browns

McMullen: Culture change getting messy for Browns

01 August 2016: Cleveland Browns QB Robert Griffin III (10) at the Cleveland Browns training camp in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

The Cleveland Browns have been the butt of just about every NFL joke there is since the organization’s reincarnation in 1999.

There have been just two winning seasons and one playoff appearance over those 16 years versus nine coaches and 25 quarterbacks, with Robert Griffin III set to be the silver-anniversary signal caller once September rolls around.

Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown don’t want to be footnotes in this tragedy and have embarked on what figures to be a slow build toward relevance and in turn, a move away from the laugh track that has underscored just about everything the Browns have done in this century.

K’Waun Williams isn’t a big name in the NFL but the nickel corner out of Pitt is the story in the Browns’ locker room now after the organization suspended him for two weeks due to a dispute over his injury status.

Williams missed last Friday’s preseason game in Green Bay, reportedly due to an ankle injury suffered in an intrasquad scrimmage at Ohio State with the disconnect coming from the fact that the 25-year-old scratched himself against the Packers.

“We’ll talk about that at a different time,” Jackson said earlier this week when asked about Williams. “I just think there are a lot of mixed messages that are going on as far as all that’s concerned. We’ll deal with it, and I’m sure we’ll all talk about it at the appropriate time.”

The Browns’ team doctors and training staff clearly had a different take on the injury because when it was announced that Williams would be inactive in Titletown, his absence was described as for personal reasons.

The best-case scenario here is a lack of communication coming from Williams’ side, who unilaterally decided he wasn’t going to play instead of going through the proper channels.  It’s very unlikely that anyone in the Cleveland organization who have forced Williams onto the field in a meaningless preseason contest if he wasn’t feeling right.

It gets stranger from here, though, because Cleveland.com reports that Williams has not returned to the team’s training camp in Berea and some in the Browns organization were under the impression that Williams was going to call it a career.

However, another source told the website that Williams has been seeking a second opinion on his ankle from an independent specialist.

What you don’t need a source to understand, however, is that Williams is simply not keeping his employer in the loop and that’s something we all have to do if we want to keep getting paychecks.

Williams, the team’s nickel corner over the past two seasons, is already running behind Jamar Taylor this time around and Jackson would probably have cut the cord already if he could without repercussions.

But, there needs to be a process in these kinds of matters because the NFLPA is likely to get involved especially in light of the health issues clouding the ultimate end game.

On the field, Williams has been an effective player in Cleveland since arriving as an undrafted college free agent but Jackson is attempting to change a culture that has poisoned Cleveland for years and to do that, you have to break a few eggs.

-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SBNation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.



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