April 21, 2014

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Browns right tackle Tony Pashos cut after helping team

Browns right tackle Tony Pashos played on a ruptured ankle tendon for 12 straight games last season. The pain was so bad he took enough pain medication to give him three ulcers by the last week of the year, his agent said Monday.

Pashos

He still almost played in the finale.

“After it all, I was thinking of going from emergency room to field just to play against Steelers at home.” Pashos tweeted. “Finish what I startd”

Pashos’ two-year Cleveland career will come to an abrupt end today. He will be released by the Browns as the new league year begins, agent Rick Smith said. The Browns declined comment.

Pashos is devastated and Smith livid over how the Browns handled the situation.

He needed two months of the offseason for the ulcers to heal before he could have surgery on the ankle last week. It left a giant curved incision from the side of his foot well past the ankle, and the stitches are about an inch wide.

The rehabilitation from the surgery will take about nine months, likely costing Pashos the 2012 season. Instead of restructuring his contract or keeping him on an injured list and allowing him to rehab with the team, the Browns chose to cut him to save about $2 million in cap space, Smith said.

Pashos was scheduled to make $3.35 million in the final year of his deal. He’ll get $1 million in injury protection.

“It’s the time, not the money,” Smith said by phone. “The biggest frustration is he cost himself six months of rehab.”

Pashos missed the first three games of the season, but the Browns preferred him to backups Artis Hicks and Oniel Cousins, who split time the first three games. So Pashos put off surgery and gutted it out.

“The guy played on one leg,” Smith said. “He sacrificed himself and couldn’t play anywhere near his normal level. He got rewarded by, ‘Thanks, go rehab on your own for nine months. Good luck.’”

Pashos (6-foot-6, 329 pounds) never complained about the ankle in his nearly daily meetings with the media. The walking boot never left his locker, but he made it to 12 straight Sundays.

“loved Cleveland, wanted 2 help build special team one day. Appreciate support,” he tweeted to a fan. “This game is bigger than one player, trying to show guys to turn it around, u gotta be all in, selfless.

“Got me in the end.”

Pashos, 31, faces an uncertain future. He’s battled shoulder and ankle injuries the last three seasons, playing just 23 games, and could miss all of 2012.

“He wants to keep this thing going,” Smiths aid. “No one wants to play football as much as him.

“I naively thought they’d work something out based on what he’d done last year.”

Smith vented to numerous media outlets because he wanted Pashos’ teammates and other teams to understand what he went through. Smith said he tried to get Pashos to shut it down last season and have the surgery. If he had, he’d likely be on schedule to be ready for training camp.

“I brought it up to him every week,” he said. “That’s not in his DNA. It’s not how he was brought up.

“He has immigrant Greek parents off the boat. Both worked three jobs. That’s what he knows.”

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.