BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens referred to the organization’s statement about Jermaine Whitehead’s postgame tweets when addressing the media at team headquarters Monday, saying only that the franchise “does not condone” his comments and threats.
While Kitchens did not want to elaborate on the matter, Browns safety Morgan Burnett opened up about his former teammate, both in Cleveland and Green Bay with the Packers, as Whitehead was waived early Monday morning.
“We’re going to miss him because that was a guy that played a lot of snaps for us, a guy that…he was a good teammate in the locker room,” Burnett said. “I just feel like it was a situation where emotions got the best of him.
“In a situation like that, we’re going to miss him, but I think for me personally, because I played with him in Green Bay, I take it past football and it’s just something where I just want to pray for him, wish him the best and get the help that he needs and pray that he gets back on his feet. But as a team, just outside of football, just as a band of brothers, we’re going to miss him.”
Whitehead expressed anger with fans questioning him for missing a tackle and claimed that he was playing with a broken hand in Sunday’s 24-19 loss to the Denver Broncos at Empower Field in Denver, but he saved his most vitriolic comments for a local radio host who doubles as Cleveland’s preseason television sideline reporter.
Whitehead did not accept the criticism of former NFL defensive back Dustin Fox and directed threatening remarks at him.
While not specifically commenting on Whitehead’s dismissal, Kitchens did say the Browns do what they can to educate players on their social media usage.
“We try to educate our players into using social media for their advantage, and certainly not their disadvantage as a general rule,” Kitchens said. “That’s what we try to educate them to do, and I think for the most part, we do a good job of that.”
Although Burnett said the decision to waive Whitehead after the incendiary tweets was “above my pay grade,” he understood why it was made and views it as an opportunity to teach others within the locker room about being a professional.
“They had to make a decision and they made the decision and roll with it, so we all have to do a job,” Burnett said. “We all are held accountable and held to a certain standard no matter where we are within the organization.
“They stand behind the brand and I think that’s just part of being a professional. You’ve got to carry yourself a certain way, even at times when you feel like your buttons are being pushed. You still have young people, young kids looking up to us and watching everything we say and the way we move.”