BEREA, Ohio -- Jabrill Peppers said he was talking about the environment that surrounds an NFL team when he told the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, on Wednesday that people in Cleveland are "wishy-washy" about their Browns.
"Obviously I wasn't talking about the fans as a whole, more so the environment of an NFL franchise," Peppers said Thursday. "We understand the city of Cleveland loves their Browns and wants to see us get back to how it's supposed to be. That's just the NFL. They love you when you're doing good or not so much when you're not."
Peppers' original comment to the Chronicle-Telegram: "So that's one thing I notice about Cleveland sports, you guys are very, very wishy-washy. If it ain't going right immediately, calling for heads, calling for jobs."
Peppers spoke in the context of the Browns struggling to win. They started 1-2-1, lost a game in Oakland when they scored 42 points and are 2-33-1 since the 2016 season. Peppers said he has encountered hostility just in his daily activities living in downtown Cleveland. He said it happens "every time I go out," even when he wears a hoodie, though he takes the hood off when he goes in stores.
"That's my experience," he said. "I can't speak for all the guys."
Peppers said he does not go out by himself anymore because of the situation that he described as "a little bit more than verbal."
"I love how passionate the fans are. Part of what I get is my fault. I'm not playing up to my potential and they see that as well so you can't fault people for feeling how they feel. You just go to take it with a grain of salt and do what you got to do to get better."Jabrill Peppers
Peppers was one of three first-round draft choices by the Browns in 2017. He played deep safety as a rookie, but moved closer to the line this season with the hope it would help him make more of an impact.
It hasn't happened yet; Peppers ranks ninth on the team with 15 tackles, has one pass defensed and no forced turnovers -- although he did recover a fumble against the Jets. Peppers has been on the field for 48.5 percent of the defensive snaps, as he and Derrick Kindred have shared time.
He also has been ineffective in the return game, averaging 21.3 yards on kickoff returns and 4.3 on punt returns.
"I love the Cleveland Browns; I love the city of Cleveland," Peppers said. "I love how passionate the fans are. Part of what I get is my fault. I'm not playing up to my potential and they see that as well so you can't fault people for feeling how they feel. You just go to take it with a grain of salt and do what you got to do to get better."
But he also said he has limits.
"When you walk up on another grown man, that's another kind of situation," he said.
Peppers said the fact he went to Michigan makes the situation worse given the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan.
"Some people already feel a way about me because of my college choice," he said. "I've just got to play better and make the plays on the field to get them to like me. That's how it is in the NFL."