The Cleveland Browns have waived injured receiver Syndric Steptoe. This comes on the heels of Steptoe’s serious injury (a torn labrum in his shoulder) sustained at training camp practice this past Saturday. Syndric was carted off the field with what was likely a significant enough injury to keep him on the sidelines this entire season.
We wrote a piece on this website some time ago advocating that something needed to change with Steptoe in order to improve his productivity on the field: http://dawgpounddaily.com/2009/05/07/what-to-do-with-syndric-steptoe/.
It now appears that will not happen. The irony is that, up to the point of his injury, Steptoe’s hands had failed him at training camp this year. There have been numerous reports of him dropping footballs. On Tuesday August 4, in perfect weather at Berea, we saw first hand (no pun intended) Syndric drop two passes right through his paws. A player of Steptoe’s small stature has to compensate with extraordinary speed and hands; Syndric was not making the grade. His work ethic was still there, but in this business that only goes so far. It is unfortunate that he was seriously injured as we hate to see any player sidelined for that reason, however, the Browns will likely not feel any hit from the loss of Steptoe.
The Team has already signed another wide receiver: free agent Edward Williams. Williams is a Lane College graduate who was originally signed as an undrafted player by the Washington Redskins last season. He was released by the Skins, was picked up by the Ravens and then released by Baltimore after spending some time with the practice squad.
What really bothers us about the Steptoe situation is that it brought about another opportunity for one of the Browns’ players’ agents to shoot his mouth off. Perhaps Syndric’s agent went to the same school as Cribbs’ agent. Very shortly after Syndric suffered the injury, his agent made a public statement criticizing Mangini and essentially blaming the Head Coach for the incident by allegedly turning a walk-through practice into full-speed drills in a driving rainstorm. Mangini barked back pointing out in part that 79 other guys did the drills without any problems.
We do not need our own players and their agents trying to spoil what has been a very successful training camp thus far. That is not a biased opinion; even Peter King has commented that the Browns have had the most positive vibes at camp this summer. Yes, this is the same Peter King that put the Browns in the basement in terms of his power rankings this year.
Mangini works his players hard. And he is no great communicator. Nobody will be complaining about that after the Team wins 8 or 9 games this season en route to playoff contention the following year.