One of the mysteries surrounding the Cleveland Browns surprising loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week was the case of safety Damarious Randall, one of the team’s best defenders who was left behind for the rivalry matchup.
With Randall being a healthy scratch as a coach’s decision, the Browns elected instead to start rookie Sheldrick Redwine. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens did not reveal the reason for the benching of Randall, but said he’s good to go this week.
“His status going forward is that he’ll come back this week and I’m assuming we’ll do everything we need to do to get back on the field,” Kitchens said. “I think Redwine did an excellent job in the middle of the field, and so did (Juston) Burris.”
Randall spoke to the media for the first time since the announcement on Wednesday, and like Kitchens, kept things close to the vest.
“Just an internal issue [but] everything’s resolved,” Randall said, via Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan. “That was coach’s decision as you seen.”
Randall, who’s in the final year of his contract, was caught off guard by being told to stay home.
“Um definitely surprised,” he said. “Definitely.”
Drama aside, Randall was happy to be back with the team for practice this week.
Damarious Randall Responds to Rumors of Missing Practice
There were rumors that Randall did not want to practice during the week, specifically on Thanksgiving. He laughed those off, citing that he played in frigid Green Bay before landing in Cleveland.
“I played in Green Bay,” he said. “What type of report is I didn’t want to go out in the cold? Y’all are crazy.”
Kitchens didn’t want to respond directly to those reports, but did make it clear something happened.
“I’m not going to comment on why, but sometimes you have to make decisions with 52 other guys,” Kitchens said. “Listen, I don’t take those decision lightly. I know it could potentially effect the team. But sometimes when you make decisions like that it’s for the 52 other guys as well.”
However, Kitchens assured the benching had nothing to do with lost “trust.”
“Damarious has my trust. It has nothing to do with trust,” Kitchens said. “I trust these guys as long as they show me they can be trustworthy. Going forward, I don’t have a problem with Damarious.”
Randall has played in seven games this season with the Browns, collecting 35 tackles and two sacks. He was coming off the best season of his five-year career with the Browns, where he started 15 games, grabbed three interceptions and had 85 tackles.
Damarious Randall Talks Future in Cleveland
Randall is in the last year of the deal and would be free to walk next season. The benching certainly adds some cloudiness to his future with the Browns.
“Like I said in August, I don’t know,” Randall said. “The contract situation, it is what it is. I’m just going to keep putting my best foot forward, just do what I can to help this team win games.”
So does the benching hurt his chances of coming back?
“I don’t know,” Randall told reporters. “Maybe you should ask them.”