Browns GM responds to suspended tight endís claims
BEREA, Ohio ó Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage emotionally defended his decision to suspend tight end Kellen Winslow, who claims the club tried to cover up his staph infection and has appealed his one-game ban without pay.
Savage suspended Winslow for his disparaging comments and behavior after Sundayís loss in Washington. Winslow, who agreed to keep his infection private, revealed he had staph and said the Browns, who have had a high number of staph cases in recent years, still have a problem with infections.
Insisting ithis is not K2 vs. Phil Savage,î the GM depicted Winslow as selfish and outlined the teamís reasons for suspending one of its stars.
iThe Browns are bigger than one person, bigger than (owner) Randy Lerner, bigger than (coach) Romeo Crennel, bigger than me and bigger than any player on this team,î Savage said during his weekly appearance on WTAM radio. iWe couldnít and wonít allow one person to tear down the organization, so we had to do something.î
Winslow appealed his suspension on Wednesday. His case will be heard by an arbitrator on Tuesday in Cleveland. Per the NFL collective bargaining agreement, the arbitrator must issue a decision within five days of the hearing and the ruling is final.
If he wins his appeal, Winslow, who will serve his suspension Sunday when the Browns play at Jacksonville, could recoup the $235,294 ó his one-game paycheck ó he was docked with the suspension.
In his first public comments suspending Winslow, an animated Savage expressed his disappointment at the Pro Bowlerís assertion the team hid his illness.
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