One of the key matchups Sunday in Cleveland could be between Browns wide receiver Davone Bess and Miami Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Bess was traded last April from the Dolphins. Patterson was unexpectedly waived by the Browns last December before being picked up by Miami to finish the season.
“I’m pretty sure those guys are going to have a little chip on their shoulder,” Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas said of the two facing their former teams for the first time.
Bess and Patterson, who is listed as questionable for the game due to an ankle injury and was limited Friday in practice, are both trying to downplay they are seeking revenge. But it’s still hard to call it just another game.
“It’s going to be different,” said Bess, who has been named one of Cleveland’s captains for the game. “Obviously, me, knowing them, them knowing me, it would be easy to get rattled and let your emotions get the best of you. … But we know what it is when it comes to Sunday and you go out and play between the lines.”
Bess spent his first five seasons with the Dolphins. Patterson, entering his eighth year, played less than two seasons for the Browns, so he isn’t facing a team for which he had long-term ties.
“Obviously, there’s some history,” Patterson said of going against Cleveland. “But if you’re talking about added incentive in this league, that’s the way this business is structured. There’s always going to be added incentive at the end of the day.”
Patterson surprisingly won a starting job in training camp over Richard Marshall, who then was released. That Bess figures to be a key receiver for the Browns is no surprise considering he caught 321 passes for 3,447 yards for Miami after arriving as an undrafted free agent in 2008.
Still, the Dolphins went in another direction last spring in free agency. They signed wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson and re-signed Brian Hartline, which led to the exit of Bess.
“You can’t be surprised in this business,” Bess said of being traded during the draft along with fourth- and seventh-round picks for fourth- and fifth-round selections. “I learned that just from watching others and watching how the league has operated over the years. I can’t say I was surprised. … I don’t hold any grudges. I’m forever thankful to the Dolphins organization to give me the opportunity to play in this league. … I’m grateful for that. All good things must come to an end.”
For Bess, perhaps the end was hastened by back injury that led to missing the final three regular-season games. Bess revealed this week it was a fracture.
“They called it a transverse process,” he said. “I had a fracture in my lumbar. They said the L2. I don’t know exactly what it was. … With mine, I couldn’t go, and I didn’t.”
Patterson also had an injury last season, missing seven weeks due to a high ankle sprain. But he had started four of the seven games he had played when his phone rang Dec. 17.
“I like to shop on Mondays, so I was in the mall buying some shoes,” Patterson said. “A (Browns) personnel guy called me and said, ‘We’re putting you on waivers.’ It’s a weird league. It’s a weird business.”
Patterson had signed before the season a three-year, $16 million contract, with $6 million guaranteed. While he said the Browns didn’t give a reason for waiving him and he wouldn’t speculate on if it had to do with saving money, he doesn’t believe the move was due to his performance.
“It was non-football related, but I’m not going to get into the specifics,” he said. “My tape speaks for itself. My departure from there had nothing to do with skill set or talent or productivity as a player or how I carry myself business wise.”
Patterson did take one dig at the Browns.
“I’m pretty sure they already know that,” Patterson said of what they’re missing without him now that he has become a starter in Miami. “Film don’t lie. … But I don’t have a bullseye in my business with a Browns head on it.”
Nevertheless, the matchup between Bess and Patterson could be well worth watching Sunday.
“Maybe it is,” Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick said when asked if it’s the Revenge Bowl. “But I’m there to beat the Browns. I hope Dimitri plays well. I hope (Bess) plays well but not well enough to beat us.”