BEREA — Receiver Kenny Britt has dropped passes and committed penalties. He’s missed two games with a groin injury. He was sent home from the Houston trip Oct. 15 and fined for missing curfew.
Yet he started Sunday in the overtime loss to the Titans and played 55 of the 73 offensive snaps.
Coach Hue Jackson said there isn’t a double standard in how he treats Britt.
“I don’t think we are sending a mixed message,” he said Monday. “We have done everything that we can do and then he has to do his part. I think the locker room knows the message loud and clear, exactly what it is, and what the expectation is. If guys don’t meet that expectation, then we will go the other way. It is just that simple, but you give guys a chance to redeem themselves.
“Now, the guy has to make a decision to do it right, step up. If you can’t, then we will move on.”
Britt received the chance at redemption Sunday and did nothing with it. He caught two passes for 7 yards to bring his season totals to 10 for 128 with a touchdown. He failed to catch a deep pass in overtime that could’ve changed the outcome.
So will he get another chance?
“We will see about all of that,” Jackson said.
Britt signed a four-year, $32.5 million deal, including $10.5 million guaranteed, in March to join the Browns as a free agent. Another $6.5 million would become guaranteed March 16, so the Browns could cut him anytime before then and he’d receive “only” the $10.5 million.
That’s a lot for 10 catches, but it may be worth it for the Browns to rid themselves of Britt, who hasn’t been the veteran mentor the team envisioned. He was sent home from Houston with receiver Corey Coleman, and Jackson was asked if Britt’s a positive or negative influence.
“I don’t want to get into that,” he said.
Jackson is 0-7 this year and 1-22 with the Browns. The numbers alone qualify a coach for the hot seat, but he insisted he doesn’t feel like he’s coaching for his job.
“No. No, I don’t,” he said. “I don’t feel like that at all because I have a direct line with (owners) Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam and Dee Haslam.
“I think there are some things that we have to fix and that we need to continue to get better at. No, I don’t feel like I’m coaching for my job. I have never felt like that, and if I did, I would tell you. That is the last thing that is on my mind.”
After a day to reconsider, Jackson continued to defend his decision to decline a 15-yard face mask penalty on the Titans on the opening drive. Instead of putting the Titans in third-and-16 from the Cleveland 47-yard line, he gave them fourth-and-1 at the 32.
The Titans lined up to go for it, and defensive tackle Danny Shelton jumped offside to give them a first down. They kicked a field goal four plays later.
Jackson said with No. 1 cornerback Jason McCourty and free safety Jabrill Peppers inactive, he didn’t want to risk the Titans converting the third down and assumed they would kick the field goal on fourth-and-1.
“I wanted to force the field goal as opposed to letting (Marcus Mariota) drop back and throw the ball with some of the guys that they had on their offensive football team,” Jackson said. “We can argue that whether you pushed them back and what if they would have went and scored a touchdown. We felt very comfortable as a football staff that this was the right thing for us to do and that is what we did.”
Jackson said McCourty (ankle) and Peppers (toe) are making “good progress” from their injuries.
** He said left tackle Joe Thomas (torn triceps tendon) was the only significant injury suffered during the game.
** The Browns will play the Vikings (5-2) on Sunday in London but won’t have to face safety Andrew Sendejo. He was suspended by the league for a game for violating the player safety rules with a hit to the head and neck area Sunday against the Ravens.