Teammates Close Ranks Behind Green

William Green's troubles have just been one of many sub-plots to this Browns season but, with his family history and his potential, one of the most painful to follow. Today, Mike McLain brings us some of the thoughts of his teammates, who are trying to support him during a difficult time. On an unrelated note, Bill Cowher is whining again.

BEREA – William Green knows he has a friend in Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren.

Warren said he will do anything he can to help Green through his off-the-field problems. The two developed a close friendship during training camp of last season.

"Deep down in my heart I pray. I don't hope he's going to make it, I know he's going to make it," Warren said. "He's a strong guy. He's a fighter. He's been fighting his whole life. It's not the first time he's been faced with adversity and tragedies. It's just at a different level right now because this is the NFL."

At the same time, Warren is using a tough-love approach with Green, who was allegedly stabbed by his girlfriend, Asia Gray, Wednesday at Green's Westlake home. Gray was arrested on charges of felonious assault and domestic violence.

Green was 12 when his father died of drug-related AIDS. His mother died a year later after getting the disease from her husband.

"I told him, ‘I can't feel sorry for you,' " Warren said. "You're a grown man. You're a living, breathing human being. From this point on, you have to stand up for William Green.

"Forget about the past and your family and all the other things. It would be good to have support, but they (his parents) weren't there for that long. You don't need them now. You need to focus and make sure your daughters are going to be alright and you're going to be alright."

The stabbing incident brought to the surface the depth of Green's problems. Free safety Earl Little is happy that Green has another chance to change his life.

"He's like a little brother to us. He's part of this family," Little said. "With these things that are going on in his life, I'm glad the guy isn't dead."

Like Warren, Green was a first-round draft choice. Dealing with the pressure of being a top pick can get the best of an athlete.

"There's a transition stage he had to go through," Warren said. "Before, it was just playing football and having fun. At this level it's supposed to be that way, but under the present circumstances it's not. The added responsibilities thrown on I think came too fast for William.

"They came too fast for me. I was just playing football (in college) and going out on Saturdays and having fun. When it comes down to it, you have to prepare throughout the week. There are some things you can do and some things you can't do."

COWHER COMPLAINTS: Steelers coach Bill Cowher is growling about the fact his team had to play a Monday night game in San Francisco and then travel this weekend to play the Browns. Pittsburgh is the only team in the NFL this season that has to follow a road Monday night game with another road game.

"I don't think it's right, but that's what we're doing," Cowher said. "It's the hand we're dealt, and we're playing it out. It's a long trip. We didn't get back until 7 a.m. (Tuesday) and going into another hostile environment is going to be a big challenge for us. We're not making any excuses. This is where we are. We'll start a little later, but we'll show up one o'clock Sunday."

RIVALRY WEEKEND: The 102nd meeting between the Browns and Steelers will be played the day after the 100th meeting between Ohio State and Michigan. It will mark the 11th time the two rivalries have convened on the same weekend. The last time it happened was in 1995 when the Buckeyes and the Browns both lost.

HELLO, GOODBYE: Defensive lineman Thomas Pittman was released from the practice squad, and he was replaced by running back Earnest Graham. Graham rushed for 1,085 yards in 13 games for the University of Florida last season. Tampa Bay signed him as a rookie free agent this year. He was waived Aug. 25.

TODAY'S MAGIC NUMBERS: The Browns are third in red-zone offense (inside the 20) and second in red-zone defense in the NFL. They've scored 16 touchdowns on 29 attempts, while the defense has allowed seven touchdowns and 14 field goals on 27 attempts.

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