Browns coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t hide his feelings when discussing Jadeveon Clowney’s strange shoe toss.
During the second quarter of Monday night’s game between the Browns and Steelers, the Cleveland defensive end committed a mind-boggling penalty that allowed Pittsburgh’s drive to continue. On a third-and-10 play from the Cleveland 36, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a pass to Chase Claypool, who was tackled well short of the first-down marker. That left the Steelers with a decision to make on fourth down.
However, after Clowney wrapped up Claypool, he ripped off Claypool’s shoe and tossed it down the field. He earned a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, pushing the Steelers into the red zone and giving them a fresh set of downs. Pittsburgh finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Diontae Johnson.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s — you can’t do that. I mean, you’re hurting the team,” Stefanski said after the Browns’ 26-14 loss. “It’s crazy, not smart. You know, he felt like he was just … he didn’t feel like he was throwing it away or whatever. But those are tough penalties in those situations.”
Browns star Myles Garrett told reporters that he didn’t see Clowney throw the shoe, but he did have a conversation with him after the play.
“I told him we can’t do that. We’ve got to be smarter,” Garrett said. “If he doesn’t throw the shoe, we’re off the field. Obviously, we can’t be doing things like that. He’s got to be a more intelligent football player.”
Clowney’s blunder was just one part of a frustrating evening for Cleveland, which came into the contest knowing that it had already been eliminated from playoff contention. The offense struggled all night, as Baker Mayfield threw for just 185 yards while being sacked nine times. The defensive unit couldn’t stop Pittsburgh rookie Najee Harris, who racked up 188 rushing yards and sealed the victory with a 37-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
The Browns will close out the regular season Sunday with an AFC North battle against the Bengals.