CLEVELAND - One game into his 4-year, $32 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, Kenny Britt may have already lost his starting job.
That's what Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson implied on Monday, when asked about Britt's struggles in his Browns debut. The nine-year veteran caught just one pass for 13 yards and was responsible for a crucial drop in Cleveland's 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Asked why Britt remains one of Cleveland's starting wide receivers, Jackson declined to commit to that being the case for much longer.
"You're saying he's starting this week," Jackson responded to a reporter. "We don't know that. So let's see where we are this week and go from there."
Britt's biggest blunder on Sunday came with 11:30 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Browns trailing 21-10. Facing a 2nd-and-19, Cleveland rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer hit Britt in the hands for a would-be first down, only to have the veteran wideout drop the ball.
The Browns punted two plays later.
On Monday, Jackson called the drop "inexcusable."
"You can't do that to a young quarterback,'' said the second-year head coach. "You've got to make that play.''
Only aiding a potential lineup change for Jackson is the improved play of second-year receiver Ricardo Louis, who caught two balls for 32 yards, including a 29-yard reception on Sunday. Jackson's trust in Kasen Williams and Sammie Coates will likely also only grow in the coming weeks after Cleveland acquired the two wideouts during the final weekend of the offseason, leaving them with just one week to prepare for Pittsburgh.
As for Britt, who is guaranteed $17 million of the $32 million contract the Browns signed him to this offseason, his future in Cleveland suddenly seems murky. After allowing Terrelle Pryor to walk in free agency, thhe Browns hoped Britt could fill the void of the team's No. 1 receiver.
It now, however, appears Britt may no longer even be a member of the first-team offense.
"He has to play better," Jackson said. "It is just that simple. That is where we are.”
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