New Cleveland Browns receiver Miles Austin was held out of work on the day the team's offseason practice was open to the media. Coach Mike Pettine said it was a simple matter of handling a veteran wisely.
Austin has not been in any offseason workouts and he’s had a variety of hamstring ailments that have really dogged his career.
The last three seasons have really been a problem, as Austin missed 11 games. Dallas even went to the point to try to change Austin’s stride and shorten it, thinking that might help. But it didn’t.
Austin is an undrafted player from Monmouth College who made it. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett sometimes said Austin didn’t have to always work that way if it meant avoiding injury.
The Browns are aware of this, as are other teams. There’s a reason a former Pro Bowler goes unsigned until May. And they’ve started to manage Austin, and do so wisely.
“We just wanted to be real cautious,” Pettine said. “It is May. We got a long time to go before the season.”
The Browns explained their offseason injury policy and it is reasonable. They don’t want to get into discussing every injury if it is not serious and long term. If they expect a player back in training camp, they won’t get into the details.
With just one practice per week open to the media, the team feels that talking about it one day or for one guy ignores that the guy might be back the next day or that others were out the previous day.
So while several players were riding bikes, the Browns weren’t divulging why. Ahtyba Rubin, for example, did not work and Pettine merely said he had an issue the team did not wish to discuss.
The NFL’s policy for offseason injuries reads this way: “Though the injury reporting policy does not begin until the week prior to the start of the regular season, clubs are expected to update media on significant injuries that occur during the offseason program, training camp and preseason games.”
“To me,” Pettine said, “serious is something that would cause someone to miss the start of training camp.”