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Notes: Jabrill Peppers fumes over $24K fine for hit against Bengals

BEREA — Jabrill Peppers changed his tune regarding his pivotal unnecessary roughness penalty against the Bengals.

A fine of a little more than $24,000 can have that effect.

Peppers said he received the notification of the fine Wednesday night in an email from the NFL. He plans to appeal.

“Obviously, I’m a little upset,” he said Thursday.


Peppers was penalized and fined for making contact to the head and neck area of Bengals receiver Josh Malone on Sunday. Peppers ran from the middle of the field to the sideline and knocked the ball loose for an incompletion, but his helmet hit the chin of Malone.

Minutes after the 30-16 loss in Cincinnati, Peppers said the official made the right call and it’s his responsibility to aim lower.

“I didn’t see the replay then, but when I watched it, I thought it was evident that I tried to go to the body,” Peppers said. “I don’t know where else I could’ve hit him at that would have dislodged the ball.

“I just feel like as defenders we’re at a disadvantage ’cause any kind of violent hit they flag. It’s not a contact sport. It’s a collision sport. I just think they need to do a better job of really making that judgment call or reviewing it or something, especially in crucial parts of the game. That call basically determined the game if you want to put it that way. So I’m a little upset right now. I’m not going to lie.”

Peppers, a rookie free safety, was so angry he didn’t read the email for an explanation.

“I actually just stopped reading the letter once I saw the number,” he said.

Peppers, the No. 25 pick, signed a four-year, $10.3 million rookie deal. His base salary this season is $465,000, so his weekly game check is $27,352.

“I don’t have 24 to give like that,” he said.

The fine confirmed the call was correct. Contacting a defenseless player in the head and neck area in any form is prohibited.

“As a DB, what do you want us to do?” he said. “When you go low, you’re a dirty player.

“You can barely touch those guys when they’re running their route. Now you can barely touch them when they’re catching the ball.”

He thought Malone took a couple of steps before the hit.

“My question is, when does a guy stop being defenseless,” Peppers said. “It wasn’t as bang-bang as I thought, but at the end of the day, that’s not my call.”


Left tackle Spencer Drango proudly pulled the baby blue shoe from his locker to show reporters. It’s My Cause My Cleats week in the NFL, which allows players to promote a cause that’s important to them through specially designed cleats.

Browns lineman Spencer Drango will wear these shoes this week as part of the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign. (SCOTT PETRAK / CHRONICLE)

For Drango, it’s the Dyslexia Foundation. He was diagnosed with dyslexia entering the fifth grade.

“It was really challenging for me to learn English, language arts growing up,” said Drango, a three-time Academic All-Big 12 at Baylor. “It is just to raise awareness for it. It is more common than people think. Just because you have a learning disability of any kind doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome it and achieve anything.”

Eighteen Browns will wear special cleats, including running back Isaiah Crowell (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality), defensive end Myles Garrett (Waterboys — unites players and fans to help bring life-sustaining well water to East African communities), receiver Josh Gordon (prenatal substance exposure awareness), linebacker Christian Kirksey (American Cancer Society and National Stroke Association), tight end David Njoku (Hands Against Hunger), tight end Randall Telfer (Boo2Bullying) and injured left tackle Joe Thomas (USO of Northern Ohio).


Coach Hue Jackson is taking the team to Los Angeles on Friday, a day early, to get adjusted before the game against the Chargers on Sunday. The players will be off Friday night and allowed to explore the city.

“It is really important when you take a trip like this is not to go put them in a hotel and treat them like they are inmates or something like that,” Jackson said. “I want to be able to trust our guys. But I make it crystal-clear what I expect and how it is going to be.

“Have a normal Friday night for themselves, but there is bed check and there is a next morning wake-up call.”

Veteran cornerback Jason McCourty doesn’t expect any shenanigans.

“We are obviously in a position where every game is the Super Bowl for us trying to get our first win. I think guys understand that,” he said.


Jackson hadn’t decided on the backup quarterback for Sunday, adding Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler have different strengths. Kessler has been the backup the past five games and really struggled in spot duty, so Jackson was asked to identify Kessler’s strengths.

“Cody has played more football for us,” he said. “His experience and being in the system, those are things that he understands.”

Kessler has taken four sacks in three-plus series in his last two appearances.

“He has been in some tough situations,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he wants to get the ball out of his hands. He hasn’t been able to do that. He has to improve in that area, there is no question about that.”


Safety Justin Currie was waived to make room on the roster for Gordon, who was activated from the commissioner’s exempt list. Currie played in his first NFL game against the Bengals.

** Receiver Sammie Coates (knee/ankle) didn’t practice.

** For the Chargers, cornerback Casey Hayward (calf/personal) and receiver Mike Williams (knee) didn’t practice for the second straight day. Kicker Nick Novak (back) was a full participant.

Hayward left the team after his younger brother was killed in a car accident Monday in Georgia. He’s expected to play Sunday.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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