EXCLUSIVE: The Reason Comes to Light

EXCLUSIVE TO THE OBR: We've been searching for the answer, and John Taylor found it. We've learned why the New York Jets rejected the Browns running back, and also learned about Lee Suggs' reaction to the news. Get the inside word right here, right now...

With the stunning news of the voided Lee Suggs trade still fresh in fans' minds, new details continue to emerge as to the reasons behind the failed swap.

Earlier this morning, The OBR reported that the reason for Suggs failing his physical with the Jets centered on the concerns New York's medical staff had about Suggs' left knee.

Not only has a second source confirmed the initial report, but they have also provided additional insight into the specific medical details of the failed physical and another previously undisclosed chapter in Lee's medical history.

According to the source, an MRI taken during the five-hour Jets physical revealed Suggs was suffering from a level of osteoarthrosis in his left knee that made the Jets doctors "uncomfortable". 

The condition, which is basically a fancy medical term for arthritis, is not news to Suggs or the Browns coaching or medical staff, the source said.

"Just about any football player whose been in the league for as long as Lee has (he's entering his fourth season) would likely be diagnosed with (osteoarthrosis) to one degree or another."

It was the degree to which the cartilage in Suggs' left knee had deteriorated, however, that caused the Jets to back away and rescind the trade.

And, speaking of cartilage…

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In the same story cited above, we wrote the following regarding Suggs' injury history in the NFL:

While the RB has not suffered a knee injury during his three-plus years in the league, he did suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus of his left knee in Virginia Tech's 2001 season opener.

As it concerns the bolded part of the sentence, we must apologize and state very firmly that we were wrong.  Dead, flat, out-and-out wrong.

According to the source, Suggs suffered a previously unreported torn meniscus in his left knee "at some point during the 2005 season" and underwent a previously unreported surgical procedure in late January or early February to repair the damage.

A quick check of injury reports from the 2005 season reveals that at no point was Suggs ever listed as having any type of knee problems.  He missed two games last season with a sprained ankle, and missed six games due to a broken thumb.

It's not known whether this latest surgery was the reason for the Jets doctors putting a "failed" stamp on the physical, but it certainly didn't help an already exacerbated cartilage problem.

Both a Browns source and a source close to Suggs tell The OBR that there have been no ill effects from the off-season surgery.  Suggs has gone through minicamps and the majority of training camp with no "abnormal discomfort".

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With the medical issues out of the way, let's get on to a question that has been asked by many a Browns fan: how exactly would Suggs feel about coming back to a team that attempted to trade him?

As the source close to Suggs put it: "He was pissed off at being traded, and he was even more pissed off when he found out he had to go back (to Cleveland).  He was looking forward to going to New York and having a clean slate."

The source went so far as to say that Suggs was considering not returning to Cleveland.

"He had to be talked out of it (by family and his representation)," the source said.  "I don't know if he was serious or not about it, but it was definitely something that had entered his mind."

Part of the back's frustration stems from feeling like he will not be given a fair shot to win a spot in the Browns backfield.  He feels, again according to the source, that the Browns' coaching staff's minds are already made up and that there is no room for him in the rotation.

The four-year veteran is also under the impression that he is "a cut waiting to happen", as evidenced by the attempted trade.

If that is indeed the case, Suggs would prefer the Browns release him sooner rather than later if he's indeed not in their plans, so as to catch on with another team as quickly as possible.

A Browns source reiterated this morning that there still exists the possibility of Suggs being released, in spite of the "if we didn't want him, we'd cut him" protestations head coach Romeo Crennel made yesterday in the wake of the failed trade.


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