CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said Sunday that he was unaware of a video surfacing on social media showing his starting quarterback, rookie DeShone Kizer, at a bar well after midnight Friday night.
By Monday, Jackson had had a discussion with Kizer, and although he wanted to keep private details of the talk between the two, he did say there is a need for his players to be cautious while in the public eye.
“I think everybody has to be careful, not just DeShone, not just the quarterback,” Jackson said. “I think all of our players do, just because I think those are the things that become headlines more so than what is really the issue is we have to play football better.”
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Although Jackson wants and expects his players to be careful when out in public, he acknowledged that so long as the work gets done during the week, he has no problem with them enjoying themselves in their personal time.
“Our players are entitled to go out, and I think our players need to understand that anywhere you go, you have to be very careful because those are the things that people will tweet, Snapchat or whatever all of these things are out, and it can be seen as something that maybe you shouldn’t be doing,” Jackson said.
“They are young men and they can go out. If a guy has done what he needed to do prior to, I don’t get to judge that. I don’t think anybody was doing something wrong or anything like that. Again, as long as there is not anyone coming to me saying, ‘This guy committed a crime or did something wrong or I don’t think the guy is on top of what I think he needs to be on top of,’ would it be an issue in my mind.”
During the second half of Sunday’s 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium, Jackson benched Kizer mid-game for the second time in three weeks, this time in favor of second-year signal-caller Cody Kessler. Kizer completed 12 of his 20 attempts for 114 yards, but threw two more interceptions and has a league-high 11 passing turnovers in just six starts this season.
In relief, Kessler completed 10 of his 19 throws for 121 yards with one interception.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London, Jackson has not yet made his choice of a starting quarterback. However, whether or not Kizer starts against the Vikings in the NFL International Series, Jackson is confident the rookie can become a successful professional quarterback.
“I truly believe DeShone is going to grow out of a lot of this,” Jackson said. “I do, but that takes time and that takes work. He is working at it. I thought we all saw improvement from him in the first half up until the first turnover. He was doing some really good things and playing well.
“I said this a long time ago. The pressure of playing quarterback in the National Football League is sometimes a big task for some men. Sometimes, you are going to get some of this where things are not going as well until they come out of this. The unfortunate part for us is you don’t get to come out of it and win games this way. You have to work through it.”