Cleveland Browns dealing with plenty of distractions as 2017 opener approaches

BEREA, Ohio -- Another day, another distraction for the Cleveland Browns as they prepare for the 2017 regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday.

One day after rookie defensive lineman Myles Garrett suffered a high ankle sprain in practice, safety Calvin Pryor and wide receiver Ricardo Louis were involved in an altercation, and that led to Pryor being waived by the Browns just 72 hours ahead of the opener.

“It was an internal matter,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said following practice. “I am not going to go into any details or specifics. We did release the player, and we are moving on.

“I just made a decision which we thought was best for our football team and we moved on. That is it.”

Following practice, Louis spoke to the media at his locker, and during the brief session, he referred to his teammates as brothers and said the incident was in the past as he readies himself to take on the Steelers in an AFC North Division clash.

“All I know is we’re getting prepared for the Steelers and I’m looking forward to playing them,” Louis said. “That’s the only thing that’s on my mind right now. We keep internal matters within the team.

“I’m just focused on me getting ready for the Steelers and preparing to win.”

It has been a difficult week for the Browns family as it relates to potential distractions, as Garrett is now week-to-week with the ankle injury, and then, the reported fight that broke out between Louis and Pryor. However, regardless of the distractions during the work week, to Louis, the mission remains to do everything necessary for the Browns to break a 12-year losing streak in season openers, while getting back in the win column against the Steelers.

The Browns owned the rivalry in the early days, but since returning to the National Football League in 1999, Cleveland has known almost nothing but misery when competing against the Steelers.

Including a 36-33 loss at Pittsburgh in the AFC Wildcard Playoffs on January 5, 2003, the Browns are 6-31 against the Steelers since returning to the NFL, and have won just four times out of a possible 28 games over the last 14 years.

“It’s very tough, man,” Louis said. “A lot of things happen, but we have to keep moving forward and stick together as a family, as a team, to help us win. That’s the main thing we have to do. When things happen, we come together, we become even stronger, and that, eventually, will help us win.

“I love all my teammates. We’re a brotherhood. We’re a family, and when things happen, we’re still together and we move forward. Our main focus is winning.”

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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