Joe Haden’s training camp ended before any of his Browns teammates were finished.
Arguably Cleveland’s best defensive player, Haden was kicked off the practice field Wednesday by coach Pat Shurmur, who felt the cornerback was being too physical with rookie wide receiver Travis Benjamin during a passing drill on the final day of workouts open to fans.
Haden was ordered to leave roughly an hour into the practice by an angry Shurmur, who declined to provide details of the incident during his news conference.
”I’m not going to talk about it,” Shurmur said. ”That’s between me and the player. I have a great deal of respect for Joe. If you want details, you’re going to have to find it on Twitter.
”My only apology is that I used bad language and the fans were here to see it. Joe’s a great competitor and I appreciate what he does and who he is and that’s the last you’ll hear me talk about it.”
Shurmur didn’t even let a reporter finish a follow-up question.
”Don’t ask,” he snapped. ”Don’t ask.”
During 7-on-7 drills, Benjamin caught a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone when he was taken down by Haden, who unsuccessfully tried to strip the ball and then yanked on the back of Benjamin’s jersey. After being ejected by Shurmur, Haden removed his helmet and shoulder pads and quickly headed into the locker room.
Shurmur’s annoyance with Haden could be understandable given the rash of injuries that have plagued the Browns since camp opened last month.
Benjamin recently missed time with an undisclosed injury, and 13 players, including rookie running back Trent Richardson, sat out Wednesday’s workout. Richardson recently underwent knee surgery, On Monday, running back Chris Ogbonnaya sustained a leg injury when he got tangled at the end of a play.
Shurmur said player safety is his primary concern.
”It’s important that we practice smart,” he said. ”You have to be able to practice at game speed, and you win and lose in practice. I think it’s important that guys understand that. I want all of our guys to make it to the horse race.”
Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson acknowledged that at the end of camp emotions may have contributed to the incident between Shurmur and Haden.
”Both guys, I think they both realize after they settled down it was a little bit overboard,” Jackson said. ”But things happen and words were said, and once we get in the locker room it’ll be over with.”