The most infamous Cleveland Browns player you’ve never heard of: Donald Stephenson
By Mitch Zoloty
Donald Stephenson has been in the news quite a bit this off-season, and not for good reasons. The newly signed Cleveland Browns tackle has created a story that seems unprecedented for someone in his position.
This past off-season the Cleveland Browns signed a man named Donald Stephenson. This was one of the more under the radar signings. The storyline of his signing was overshadowed by some of the other moves the Browns made this off-season.
Due to this, you might not know who Donald Stephenson is if you’re a Browns fan.
Well, he seems determined to make sure you know who he is, but not in a good way.
Stephenson signed a one-year, $2.5 million dollar contract with this Browns this off-season, with $1 million guaranteed. He has been losing some of that money recently due to him inexplicably deciding to skip mandatory mini-camp.
Mary Kay Cabot reported on twitter how much money he has lost so far due to his tardiness:
Usually when players skip an event like mandatory mini-camp it is because they are trying to leverage their way into a new deal. Stephenson just signing with the Browns combined with him not being even seen as a starter gives him zero leverage to try to hold out for a new deal.
This has been one of the weirdest stories during the mandatory mini camps across the league, but things just got weirder. Ian Rapoport has just reported that he will be suspended for the first two games of the season.
This means the Browns will be without Stephenson for the Week 1 matchup at home against the Steelers and the Week 2 matchup in New Orleans against the Saints. That is if Stephenson still ends up making the roster.
He was considered to most likely be the backup right tackle for the Browns. After all, he played right tackle for the Broncos the past two seasons. Stephenson’s name was also in the mix for the starting left tackle spot, despite Shon Coleman being the front-runner for that job.
With his recent behavior, Stephenson can pretty much kiss that opportunity goodbye. With the emergence of undrafted free agent Desmond Harrison, Stephenson might not make the 53 man roster.
Stephenson is the fourth-oldest member of the Browns, so his career might not be for too much longer. Turning 30 this season, not many teams will take a chance on someone that comes with off the field issues and a limited shelf life remaining.
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The Browns could still use his talents and experience as depth, in case one of the starting tackles gets hurt. He has played both tackles in the NFL, which adds value to his stock. Hopefully he turns around his act, shows up, and plays to the best of his ability during training camp.