Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
Brian Hartline’s homecoming is not going as planned. Hartline, born and raised in Canton, OH, also attended Ohio State and thought it was a dream come true when he signed with the Browns in the offseason…And then the season started.
It has been a disastrous season from start to finish in Cleveland with problems and controversies involving the front office, the coaches, and the Heisman-winning backup QB. Hartline has been a model employee and citizen but he may have ruffled some feathers within the NFL league office with his quote after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. Hartline actually declined to speak to the media on the record but did offer up one simple quote on why he’s not talking to the press: “I want to keep a job.”
You have to understand the context of the quote to truly understand what Hartline is getting at. Hartline was seen limping after the game with what was described as a deep thigh bruise that he managed to play through. But, perhaps, he shouldn’t have been playing at all but the Browns had only two healthy receivers. They signed Terrell Pryor as a QB/WR last week and labeled him a “security blanket” but declined to make him active for yesterday’s game. (What’s the point of having security if you don’t use it?) They also did not activate Dwayne Bowe and prefer to let he and his $9 million guaranteed salary sit on the bench for all but five games this season. It sounds like Hartline wanted to rip the team for forcing him to play through the injury but he knows if he did that then he would likely be disciplined and/or cut.
Come to think of it, perhaps getting cut by the Browns and escaping the misery wouldn’t be such a bad thing.