The honeymoon with the fans and new GM Ray Farmer may have just ended.
Today the Browns made a surprise move, announcing they have released linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, a player who has been with the team longer than any other, and was a leader on defense.
“We had positive discussion with D’Qwell and his agent over the last several days, and we came to the mutual agreement to go in different directions,” Farmer said in a statement released by the team.
“D’Qwell is the epitome of class, leadership and professionalism. Every day of his NFL career, D’Qwell has been a solid representative of the Browns and the City of Cleveland, both between the lines on Sundays and off the field in our area community.
“We want to thank him for his eight years of service and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
He was an eight-year vet who was the clubs second-round pick back in 2006.
Jackson was due a $4.1 million roster bonus on March 15th, which likely was a huge reason why the team decided to cut ties with him.
Mike Pettine, the new coach of the Browns, did comment on Jackson during his time in Indy at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“He came into town. It was within the first week I was hired…he bounced right up to the office and you could tell he’s special,” said Pettine.
“He and I sat down and had a great meeting. It’s easy to see why he’s so highly thought of, the leadership ability and the intangibles to me are off the chart.”
The linebacker inked a five-year extension with the Browns that would have taken him through 2016. The deal was worth $42.5 million, with a $9 mil signing bonus.
He’s now free to ink with any team.
Jackson released a statement that the team put out.
“To the people of Cleveland and Browns fans everywhere: Eight years ago I began a journey that blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful organization and community. I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for opening your arms and hearts to my family and me, and for making Cleveland an easy place to love and call home. It’s been an honor playing in front of you.
“I also would like to thank the Browns players, coaches and staff for their tireless work and commitment. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all and will always carry you with me.”