NFL notebook: Browns fire GM; Shazier undergoes surgery

Sports Xchange

December 07, 2017 at 5:27 pm.

The Cleveland Browns have fired executive vice president/general manager Sashi Brown, the team announced on Thursday.

With Brown’s departure, the franchise will be searching for a general manager for the ninth time since it returned to Cleveland in 1999. The team, however, said it will keep Hue Jackson as its coach for the 2018 season.

Winless thus far this season, the Browns own a 1-27 mark under the watch of Brown, who was hired to run the front office on Jan. 3, 2016.

“We have great appreciation and gratitude for Sashi’s commitment and leadership to our organization but believe transitioning to someone with strong experience and success in drafting and building consistently winning football teams is critical to the future of the Cleveland Browns,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “Today we informed Sashi that we were going in a new direction.

“Hue Jackson will remain our coach and will return for the 2018 season but we feel it is necessary to take significant steps to strengthen our personnel department. We have begun the process of having productive conversations regarding leadership of our football operations and will provide further updates when appropriate. We thank Sashi for all his hard work and dedication to the Cleveland Browns.”

–Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday night on the heels of the injury he sustained earlier in the week, the team announced.

“(University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) neurosurgeons and Pittsburgh Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon performed spinal stabilization surgery on Ryan Shazier to address his spinal injury,” the Steelers’ statement said.

The team initially said that Shazier, 25, would not require surgery. The Steelers have not released any information about whether Shazier has any movement in his legs, or whether he is expected to make a recovery.

A Pro Bowl selection last season, Shazier was injured during Monday’s 23-20 win versus Cincinnati while making a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone with 11:14 remaining in the first quarter. Shazier hit Malone low with his shoulder pads, then immediately reached for his back while his legs remained motionless.

–Buffalo Bills rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White told reporters that it’s “a joke” that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski received only a one-game suspension from the NFL following his late hit in Sunday’s game.

White cleared concussion protocol on Thursday, four days after Gronkowski leveled an elbow/forearm to the back of the head following an interception in the Patriots’ 23-3 win.

With the game in hand in the fourth quarter, Gronkowski dove into a defenseless White on the ground near the sideline, driving his head and back into the ground. Gronkowski was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the hit, but was not ejected from the game.

“The guy did what he wanted to do,” the 22-year-old White said. “He is what he did. Dirty shot, so what does that make him? Dirty player. Simple.”

–Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver John Ross admitted to concealing an injury to his left shoulder, coach Marvin Lewis said during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Lewis said that Ross had been hiding the injury before finally “coming clean” with the team, which placed him on injured reserve Wednesday. The coach said that the ninth overall pick of the 2017 draft didn’t divulge the severity of the injury because he wanted to play.

Ross’ latest injury is not related to the right shoulder ailment that caused him to have surgery prior to the draft and pushed back his Bengals’ practice debut until late training camp. The 23-year-old Ross failed to make a catch on two targets and had one rush for 12 yards in three games. He had been ruled inactive in nine of the team’s 12 games.