Mike Pettine: Browns have not discussed releasing Dwayne Bowe

Dwayne Bowe has not made any sort of impact thus far for the Browns, as he has yet to register a catch. David Richard/AP

BEREA, Ohio -- Dwayne Bowe has become the lightning rod for frustration felt by Cleveland Browns fans.

Bowe is a 31-year-old receiver cut by Kansas City this past offseason after three years of good-but-not-great numbers. The Browns jumped on him, as suspended General Manager Ray Farmer leaned back to his Chiefs days and his association with Bowe, to bring him to Cleveland.

The GM who once said he didn’t believe in taking receivers high in the draft because they touch the ball only so many times a game went after Bowe aggressively, and guaranteed him $9 million for a two-year deal. Which means that if Bowe spends one season in Cleveland, he gets $9 million.

Bowe has been inactive once (against the Jets) due to injury. He was active against Tennessee and was on the field for eight plays. He had one pass thrown to him and did not make the catch. He was inactive Sunday against the Raiders. Bowe was not listed on the injury report, which made him a healthy scratch. He spent the game on the sideline wearing his receiving gloves.

Bowe is an upbeat, positive and confident guy, but his contract and his big talk prior to the season only makes his absence more noteworthy.

“Dwayne will help us, but he’s just not there yet,” coach Mike Pettine said.

Essentially, Pettine said that with cornerback K'Waun Williams out with a concussion the Browns needed another corner, which meant keeping Justin Gilbert active. Gilbert was on the field for two special teams plays.

“The setback (with his hamstring) that he suffered during training camp, it’s just hard to make those reps up, especially now that we’re in a practice week,” Pettine said.

At one point of preseason, Bowe shrugged off all the missed time, saying being a nine-year vet who is “pretty good” it would not matter.

“It is a new system, but I think it might be a little more physical at this point than it is (mental),” Pettine said. “It’s a combination, but it’s just as much or more the physical as it is the mental.”

Which would indicate that Bowe either was not in shape when he reported or is not in shape now. Asked last week if Bowe reported overweight, Pettine declined to get into details of a player’s conditioning.

Pettine gave a long, deep breath when Bowe’s contract and the resulting expectations were mentioned on Monday. Then he was asked if the Browns have discussed releasing Bowe.

“No,” he said. “It’s a long season. It hasn’t started out the way that we’ve all, including Dwayne, wanted it to, but we’re confident that we’ll get him contributing here sooner than later.”