BEREA—Mike Pettine came out strongly denying that there is a division within the Browns locker room over the starting quarterback.
TMZ posted on their website on Tuesday attributing three offensive starters for the Browns stating they feel Johnny Manziel should be the starting quarterback over Josh McCown.
Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins posted “This story is 1,000 percent made up.” with a link to the story. Joe Thomas was on ESPNCleveland radio and also dismissed the story.
Mike Pettine was asked if he addressed the report with the team.
“We’ve talked to the team, periodically, just about media policy and if you want to go on record, put your name on something,” Pettine said before practice on Wednesday. “As far as multiple players being off the record, we talk to them about it, but that’s not something that I’m concerned with. I know it makes for good copy and clicks outside of here, but given the veterans that we have in the room and on the inside and talking to the players constantly and getting feedback from other coaches and players and getting a sense of the pulse of the locker room that I’m confident this is not an issue.”
Pettine was asked specifically if he thought players did make those statements.
“I’ve said all I’m going to say about the report.”
Pettine was asked if the team is divided on the quarterback issue.
“No and we’re confident that our players know my door is open, that their position coach’s door is open, that the coordinator’s door is open,” Pettine said. “We have a leadership council where there’s a player from each room, so there’s resources available. Are we going to have 1,000 percent agreement on how we’re using players and how we’re doing that but it falls on the coaches coach and the players play, they have their jobs to do. Are they going to have opinions?, certainly.
“I’m confident there is no rift in the locker room,” he said. “The way our players reacted signifies that. We always talk about controlling the controllable and external debate as you put it, it’s something that we don’t control. We’re confident in our plan and we’ll move ahead forward with it.”
Pettine said the best solution to quieting the unrest surround the Browns is to go to San Diego and beat the Chargers.
“Again, I use the quote, “control the controllable,” he said. “The only thing we know how to do is not get caught up in that because that stuff can just drag you down emotionally. You just start to let the past just sit on your shoulders. I won’t let it happen to myself or let it happen to this team.
“We have a heckuva challenge in front of us this week and the best cure for the way things are is to go out and win and so we’re going to funnel all of our energy into that and jump on a plane to San Diego and see if we can get that done.”