By Nick Shook
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Kenny Britt‘s first season hasn’t gone as well as expected. Corey Coleman is again on the mend after suffering another broken hand. Neither helped their cases last weekend in Houston.
Both Britt and Coleman were sent home Sunday after missing curfew the night before Cleveland’s eventual loss to Houston, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Saturday on Good Morning Football Weekend. Neither Coleman or Britt were going to play in the game due to injuries.
Even with both sidelined, coach Hue Jackson wasn’t lowering his standard for two receivers who broke curfew. The two were sent home Sunday morning, missing the game, and have since had talks with Cleveland’s coaching staff after the incident and apologized, Garafolo reported.
The minor blemish is just the latest knock on Britt, who has fallen well below expectations after signing a four-year, $32.5 million deal with the Browns in March. The veteran has gone from touchdown-catching end zone tower as a member of the Los Angeles Rams to lackadaisical, pass-dropping veteran in Cleveland. Fresh off a career year of 68 catches, 1,002 yards and five touchdowns, Britt has just eight receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown in four games with Cleveland.
With each and every Sunday struggle, Britt reminds the team’s jaded fanbase more of a recent disappointment at the position. Dwayne Bowe signed a two-year deal with $9 million guaranteed in 2015 and caught just five passes in his time as a Brown before he was unceremoniously released in March of 2016.
With Cleveland struggling offensively and Britt doing very little to alleviate the problems, Browns fans are already turning toward the familiar assertions of highway robbery that once hovered over Bowe like an ever-present neon sign and even followed Andre Rison — whose 1995 free-agent additon and subsequent flame-out contributed to the original franchise’s move to Baltimore and still burns fans along the shore of Lake Erie — out of town.
Coleman has a longer leash, despite being a former first-round pick who has shown flashes but also spent plenty of time in the trainer’s room. The diminutive-but-explosive wideout remains the team’s best hope at the position, which has seen its fair share of massive potential equal minimal or unreliable results (Josh Gordon, non-2007 Braylon Edwards, for example).
Of Cleveland’s three most notables receivers of late, only one — Rashard Higgins — was on the team entering training camp. The other two — Kasen Williams and Bryce Treggs — were with other teams and became in-season signings that have mildly paid off on a team otherwise devoid of talent at the position.
Above all, the team’s best prospect staying out past curfew with its supposed veteran leader is simply not a good look. It seems as though Jackson sensed this immediately and attempted to prevent it from happening again by being heavy-handed in sending them home. Whether any of it matters beyond 2017 is yet to be determined.