ROUGHING THE PASSER: What’s Brown and Stupid?

Our regular quarterback-centric feature returns, this time with a twist. Because not even we could ignore what went on in Cleveland this week. 

Those of you with a memory span of longer than 48 hours will recall that, in our round up of the London games this year, we mentioned that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshone Kizer looked to be an NFL-quality quarterback, but not a player that was yet ready to play in the NFL.

Remarkably, it seems that the Browns’ front office agreed with us, because no sooner had they arrived back in Ohio than they made a trade offer for Bengals backup, AJ McCarron. And, to prove that players have no say in anything in the NFL, that offer was accepted.

So far, so good. All that then needed to happen was for the two teams to file the necessary paperwork by 4pm Eastern Time on Tuesday and the deal would be done.

Which is where it all went a bit wrong. Because although the League office received the Bengals’ half of the documentation, the Browns’ part remained mysteriously absent until several minutes after. Which is where the fun started.

First the Browns asked for an extension of time. Understandably, a League which is nothing if not inflexible said no.

Then the Browns claimed that the trade was valid, because they had sent the signed paperwork to the Bengals. Which was gibberish, because the rules are clear, both teams have to file the signed paperwork with the league by the trade deadline for the trade to be valid.

And then the Browns claimed that the trade should go through, because it wasn’t their fault that they hadn’t received the forms signed by the Bengals. Which was an outright lie, because the Bengals had already filed forms signed by both teams with the League office.

In short, it was not only a complete shambles, but the sort of shambles that no sporting team anywhere, let alone in the professional arena, should end up in.

In fact, the level of ineptitude – not only in the initial mistake, but the risible attempts to wriggle out of it – is such that you even wonder if the Browns – gasp! – DID IT ON PURPOSE? Did they get cold feet and decide to back out, but in a way that would not upset a division rival and state partner?

Whatever the reason, two things are certain. AJ McCarron is a very relieved man. And Deshone Kizer will still be under center when the Browns next take the field.

Richard O’Hagan

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Richard O'Hagan
Writer on such diverse topics as sport, music, theatre, law and politics. Author of 'Eddie the Sheep'. Supporter of underachieving teams, including the Chicago Bears from before that brief, heady, period in the mid-1980s when they were actually any good. All I want for Christmas is a Jim McMahon away shirt.
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