Owl: The Droughns Concern

The Owl offers some thoughts on how the Browns should respond to allegations made this week against star running back Reuben Droughns. How does this effect the team, and Phil Savage's roster decisions?

We're going to give Reuben Droughns the benefit of doubt here, which is a privilege anyone in a free society should enjoy when they are accused of a crime.

Since none of us was in the house when Droughns allegedly harassed and assaulted his wife Kelly in a Denver suburb May 12, none of us can say what really happened.

Droughns' attorney says the police did not conduct a proper investigation and he says Droughns' wife does not want to file charges. In Colorado, though, the police can file charges of domestic violence with or without a spouse's consent, and that's probably a good law considering how often women get hit by their bully husbands, are too scared to do anything about it, and end up getting hit again.

Whatever really happened, it is significant to note that the judge at Droughns' bond hearing Thursday did not issue a restraining order barring Droughns from having contact with his wife. I'm not a lawyer, as my wardrobe allowance would indicate, but I'm guessing if the judge believed Droughns was a threat he would not let him near Kelly.

Having said all that, the Browns better hold on to Lee Suggs, because there are no guarantees Droughns will be cleared. And, to be totally honest, it is fair to wonder if Droughns will be around for every game the next four years, and we're not talking about injuries.

This charge comes too closely on the heel of Droughns being arrested last year on DUI charges while driving home from a Halloween party. A Medina jury found him not guilty of being impaired by alcohol. When he was stopped he blew .08, the legal limit in Ohio, on a Breathalyzer.

Still, one can question the decisions Droughns makes. Something must have happened in Colorado for the police to get involved in the first place. Maybe it was something as minor as Mr. and Mrs. Droughns arguing and a concerned neighbor overheard and got involved. The sheriff's department in the area is not issuing any details of the investigation or what they found. It could not have been very damning, because they waited 12 days to file charges.

Droughns, like all athletes, has a responsibility to not put himself in situations that could cause trouble. That goes for the DUI arrest, for now, more than the incident near Denver since we do not know what happened in Centennial, Colo.

The NFL takes a dim view of beefy football players hitting women. There have been instances of domestic violence involving players before and the player gets suspended for four games.

Nothing as of now indicates Droughns will be punished at all by the league, let alone suspended. If the investigation was as sloppy as the attorney, Harvey Steinberg, purports, the three separate charges - two for harassment and one for assault - could be dropped.

Still, Droughns' situation is a reminder of how he could be one play away from injury, and if Suggs is released in a June 1 purge as has been suggested on the OBR, and Droughns is injured, what are the Browns going to do then? Don't tell me about William Green. I'll take Suggs over Green every day.

Outright releasing Suggs June 1 is a silly idea anyway. The Browns could cut him the day before the season starts and save his $950,000 salary.

The Browns issued the obligatory comment of concern, saying the organization takes the charges seriously but will not comment further because it is a pending legal matter.

It would of course be very embarrassing for the Browns if Droughns is convicted - much worse than when Kellen Winslow Jr. forgot he wasn't Superman on a motorcycle.

The Browns should hope for the best - a complete exoneration - but they should prepare for the worst by keeping Suggs.

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