April 24, 2014

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Browns Notes: Report: WRs Greg Little, Josh Gordon have checkered driving records, including high-speed tickets

BEREA — A speeding ticket given Monday to receiver Greg Little opened up a can of worms for him and fellow starting wideout Josh Gordon.
WOIO-TV reported Wednesday that Little was stopped Monday night around 8:30 in Strongsville for speeding on I-71 near the turnpike. The ticket read he was going 81 mph in a 60 mph zone, and also cited him for expired plates.
Research by WOIO later revealed that in April Little admitted to driving 127 mph. He lost control on the Jennings Freeway, and Cleveland police found he hit a guardrail, knocked down a light pole and left 40 yards of brake tracks. Police also said he had a passenger in the car who was scared and left the scene, according to WOIO’s report.
Little was fined $350 for the crash.
He also had a warrant issued for his arrest because he didn’t go to court for having fictitious plates.
WOIO then discovered Gordon hadn’t shown for court after getting stopped going 45 mph in a 25 mph zone in May. Last week he was stopped for doing 98 mph in a 60 mph zone.
Pat D’Angelo, the attorney for both players, told WOIO everything is being resolved.
“We’re aware of the situation involving the players and their unacceptable driving records,” the team said in a statement. “We take matters such as this very seriously. We’ve spoken to both individuals, and will address the issue with the entire team.”
Alcohol wasn’t involved in any of the cases and Little’s was a single-car accident, a team source said.
The maturity of Little and Gordon had been questioned previously in their short time with the Browns. Gordon is in his second season, Little his third.
Gordon will open the season by serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He failed multiple tests for marijuana in college and was kicked off the team at Baylor.
Little fought with fans on Twitter last year and bothered then-coach Pat Shurmur when he struck a pose after catches. He was ineligible his final year at North Carolina after taking improper benefits from an agent.
But both have received good reviews from the coaches and front office for their work ethic and effort throughout training camp.
Little is due in court Sept. 4 in Berea for the speeding ticket.

HE’S BACK
Jet-lagged? A little. Bitter? Not a bit.
Defensive lineman Brian Sanford practiced with the Browns on Wednesday, just hours after returning from Seattle. He was sent to the Seahawks on Monday, but the trade was voided Tuesday when the Browns had health concerns regarding offensive lineman John Moffitt.
“It’s been kinda strange,” Sanford said. “It never happened to me before. Obviously a long flight, but the only thing that I lost really was sleep.
“I’m happy I’m still here. I’ve been here for three years and I’m trying to stay here. I love the Browns, man. I don’t want to leave this locker. I just want to play football.”
Sanford flew out of Cleveland on Monday night at 7:30. He returned Wednesday morning at 6:30 and was at the team facility at 7:30.
He took a four-hour physical in Seattle but never got a jersey. He said he’s trying not to think about the possibility of the Browns trading him again.
“It’s football, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “Guys come and go, things happen. You can’t really harp on type of things like that because you have no control over it. The only thing I can control is how hard I play.”
The Browns wanted Moffitt for insurance at right guard following ankle injuries to Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston that will sideline them for the start of the season. Coach Rob Chudzinski wouldn’t commit to another trade for a lineman but said the scouting department was “looking for everything.”
Seventh-round pick Garrett Gilkey and veteran tackle Oniel Cousins split first-team repetitions at right guard Wednesday.

GIPSON THE GUY
Tashaun Gipson has held the starting free safety job throughout the offseason and Chudzinski said he’ll stay there to open the regular season.
“It was just a relief that this grind and all the work this offseason, OTAs and this summer has paid off,” Gipson said. “But at the same time, it doesn’t stop here now. Just because I’m named the starter, I don’t think nothing will change. I’m going to continue to grind like I’m fighting for my job every day.”
Gipson was an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming last year and started three of 10 games. A shoulder sprain sidelined him earlier in camp, but he said he’s recovered.
Strong safety T.J. Ward will be paired with Gipson at the back end of the secondary, but they’ve yet to play together in a preseason game because Ward was out with a hamstring injury. That should change Saturday against the Colts.
“I am looking forward to seeing that,” Chudzinski said. “We have been cautious with T.J., but he is looking full speed and everything seems to be a go.”

INJURY REPORT
Rookie third-round pick Leon McFadden replaced Chris Owens at cornerback with the first-team nickel package. McFadden lined up outside, with Buster Skrine sliding inside to the slot. Owens was out with the same foot injury that sidelined him for the opener.
McFadden missed a chunk of camp with a groin injury and didn’t play in the first two preseason games. He also played with the second-team defense Wednesday.
** Outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Barkevious Mingo (lung bruise), defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (back), tight end Gary Barnidge (shoulder), kicker Brandon Bogotay (groin) and receivers Jordan Norwood (hamstring) and Nanaan Roosevelt (hamstring) didn’t practice.
** Receiver Davone Bess got a day of rest.

MORE THAN A HALF
Chudzinski plans to play the starters the entire first half and a series in the third quarter Saturday against the Colts in the third preseason game. He wants them to make the halftime adjustments.
Chudzinski said running back Trent Richardson will be one of a few starters who won’t play as long as the rest. Gordon, who will be suspended the first two games, will start against the Colts but be part of a rotation.
It’s yet to be determined if receiver David Nelson will play. He returned to practice Sunday after missing most of camp with a bone bruise in his surgically repaired right knee.
Chudzinski said he hasn’t decided if the starters will play at all in the finale next week against Chicago.
“We will base it on what we see this week,” he said.

EXTRA POINTS
The Browns announced a total of 56,306 fans attended training camp, counting 13 open practices at the team facility and Family Night at FirstEnergy Stadium. The average attendance for practices at the facility was 2,475, trailing the 2,652 in 2012 but second since at least 2005.
** The Browns have a new sign hanging above the locker room door as they head to the practice field: BE TRUSTED.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.