Usually when a player leaves the practice field early, it's because he got injured. On Wednesday, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden was pulled from the practice field because he could injure another player.
In what is considered a rare occurrence, Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur told Haden to go to the locker room about a half-hour into practice for being too rough with wide receiver Travis Benjamin, according to ESPN Radio in Cleveland.
Shurmur removed Haden after the 2010 first-round pick dragged down the 175-pound Benjamin in the end zone during a red-zone drill. According to the web site, Shurmur and Haden exchanged heated words before Haden walked alone into the team facility.
In his opening remarks to reporters after practice, Shurmur said, “This was practice No. 21. We’ve had 21 walk-throughs. As you might expect, none of us have had enough sleep in the last month and we get very emotional.”
Shurmur was testy with reporters when asked about the incident with Haden.
“I’m not gonna talk about it,” he said. “That’s between me and the player. I have a great deal of respect for Joe. If you want details, you’re going to have to find it on Twitter. My only apology is that I used bad language and the fans were here to see it.”
When asked a follow-up question, Shurmur said, “Don’t ask. That’s between me and the player. Joe’s a great competitor and I appreciate what he does and who he is. I’m not talking about it anymore. You’ll have to go somewhere else to find out.”
In my 12 years of covering the NFL, I've only seen one player pulled from the field for rough play and it wasn't a star player like Haden. This isn't the first time Haden has made news this month. ESPN Radio in Cleveland reported two weeks ago that Haden faces a possible four-game suspension from the league for a failed drug test. A team source told the radio station there has been no indication from the league if and when Haden might face discipline for the reported positive test.