| ||CLEVELAND -- Orlando Brown might have permanent damage in the eye that was accidentally hit by a referee's weighted penalty
flag during a game, doctors said Monday.
The Cleveland Browns tackle, who pushed the ref to the ground
after being struck by the flag, was being treated for impaired
vision at the Cleveland Clinic.
Brown said his family's medical history is what drove him to
storm onto the field and confront Jeff Triplette. Brown's father
lost his sight to glaucoma in 1993.
Triplette's 3-ounce flag -- weighted with BBs -- struck Brown
directly in his right eye on Sunday in a game against Jacksonville.
"My actions yesterday were based upon an incredible amount of
pain which affected my judgment," Brown said in a statement.
"This situation was very scary due to my father's blindness and
having to deal with that for many years.
"My injury and those facts still do not justify pushing an official. I regret what happened a great deal. Nothing like this will ever happen again."
The NFL is considering disciplinary action, which could include
a fine and suspension. The minimum fine for physical contact with
an official is $10,000.
Brown was expected to remain under a doctor's care for at least
two more days.
"It's not good," said Cleveland coach Chris Palmer, who
visited Brown at the hospital. "He is concerned about losing his
Palmer said doctors were concerned about pressure building
around the eye, which was swollen shut and covered by a metal
patch. Doctors told Palmer that because Brown is predisposed to eye
problems, any injury could lead to permanent damage.
Because Brown already had poor vision he couldn't see the flag
right away as it was coming toward him, Palmer said.
After he was hit, the 6-7, 350-pound Brown dropped to one knee,
and Triplette rushed to his side to pull the marker from inside the
Brown then staggered toward the Cleveland sideline, but returned
to confront Triplette, an energy company treasurer. Brown knocked
the 6-foot-5, 200-pound ref to the ground with a two-handed shove
to the chest.
Four NFL players have been disciplined for such contact: Don Burroughs of Philadelphia in 1963, Monty Stickles of New Orleans in
1968, Michael Jackson of Seattle in 1982 and Steve Wisniewski of
Oakland in 1996.
Browns president Carmen Policy, who appeared at a news
conference with Palmer, said the league should not treat Brown any
differently because of the severity of the injury.
"The pushing of an official should never be ignored," Policy
said. "With that premise in mind, I don't think what happened can
simply be written off. I don't think the league should totally
waive what happened, but I do think they should weigh all the
Palmer said when he saw Brown walking back onto the field he
thought he was simply rejoining the huddle. He thinks Brown became
enraged when he crossed paths with Triplette.
"I think if he was in a fit of rage it would have been a sprint
onto the field like you see in baseball," said Palmer, who tried
to calm Brown down on the sideline. "God knows if it was a fit of
rage I wouldn't be here today."
Policy said he hopes the NFL will change the way officials are
instructed to throw their penalty flags. Officials are taught to
throw the markers upward or at the spot of the infraction.
Browns linebacker Jamir Miller said he could understand why
Brown lost his composure.
"The man was upset that he was taken out of the game by a flag,
of all things," Miller said. "You have 300-pound guys running
around at you all day and you get hit in the eye with a flag?
"It's a frustrating thing. How he dealt with it? That's how he
dealt with it. I can tell you why it happened -- frustration."
Browns safety Corey Fuller berated a reporter for asking if any of the Cleveland players were afraid of Brown, fined $5,000 earlier
this season for a late hit.
"I'm not defending him and I'm not defending the ref," he
said. "It's just a situation where it seems like the athlete is
always totally wrong. He's not out there robbing, killing,
stealing. The man blew up. The situation got out of control."
|Orlando Brown became enraged after a penalty flag hit his eye and caused considerable swelling.|| |
Still hospitalized, Browns lineman unable to read apology
Ratto: Browns rally around Brown
Browns lineman flattens ref during loss to Jaguars
Week 15 wrap-ups
Week 15 infirmary report
TJ's Take on Week 15
Week 15 stats leaders
Myra Brown speaks on her husband's behalf.
wav: 724 k
Agent Tom Condon says there was no excuse for his client's actions.
wav: 905 k
Browns safety Corey Fuller discusses Orlando Fuller's eye injury.
wav: 429 k