Kevin Stefanski on Jadeveon Clowney: ‘nothing comes above the team’

As one could imagine, the majority of the questioning from the media today had to do with Jadeveon Clowney for the Cleveland Browns and those who spoke in Berea. Head coach Kevin Stefanski took the podium as well and did his best to make sure the media knew that the Clowney matter will be dealt with internally and that he was focused solely on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite a ton of Clowney-related questions, Stefanski had this to say:

“Again, I just think my focus is so Pittsburgh Steeler-centric and that is where my mind is right now so that is kind of where I am going to stay.”

Here are other quotes that are pertinent to the Clowney situation and other matters, even as focused on Pittsburgh Stefanski attempted to steer the conversation.

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On if there are concerns about leadership and connection between coaches and players after experiencing the Clowney situation this year and issues between former Browns and LA Rams QB Baker Mayfield and former Browns and free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“I understand the question. Every team, all 32, we all deal with things throughout the season. Sometimes they stay in house and you deal with them, and sometimes they don’t. That is very similar to family. That is what we do. We operate as a family. Sometimes you make tough decisions, but that is what we are trying to do.”

On if Clowney expressed frustrations to him:

“I have had a lot of conversations with a lot of guys. JD is somebody who I respect. He is a veteran. We have had conversations, yes, but I just don’t think it is fair in this setting [to talk about those conversations]. I understand the question – I do – but I just think it is fair to our team that we keep those conversations internal.”

On four Browns defensive players being disciplined during the 2022 season:

“Again, I would tell you everything is case by case. Every team I have been a part of at all levels, you always have things that come up, and you deal with them. Again, I go back to it really is no different than family. Sometimes you get into arguments with your brothers – that is life – but you move on and you get past it.”

On if the Browns believe it was in the best interest of the team to move DE Myles Garrett, ‘the best player’ into desirable matchups, referencing Clowney’s criticism of the approach:

“I do.”

On it seeming normal in football to move the team’s ‘best player’ in Garrett into desirable matchups despite Clowney’s criticism:

“Again, not replying specific to that, but yes, I do think that it is best to move Myles around and try to play to his strengths.”

On if the Browns have made a decision on whether or not Clowney will play this week:

“Yes.”

On if situations like this one further display how the NFL is about teams but is also a business, referencing his comments comparing team to family:

“I think you guys have seen over the course of different teams and different seasons, and there are things that come up. Listen, even when you are winning, there are things that are going on and you work through as that family. We will continue to do that. My focus is on Sunday in Pittsburgh. That is my 100 percent sole focus. That is the locker room, as well. I understand the story, I understand the questions and I get all of that, but we have a big one on Sunday.”

On why some team items become public despite his focus on keeping internal matters in house:

“Again, you try to educate the players throughout the season on things that you want to share, things that you don’t want to share and all of those type of things. Ultimately, guys will make their decisions, but is our job to educate them and just remind them. Again, this is a team game, and nothing is going to come in front of that.”

On if there is a ‘drastic difference’ in how the Browns defense is using Clowney, in references to Clowney’s nine sacks and two sacks in 2021 and 2022, respectively:

“No.”

On the focus on establishing a strong culture with the team and if how the team is handling the situation with Clowney ‘sends that message to the locker room’ about culture:

“As you can imagine, I don’t send messages to the locker room. I just tell people to their face what I think and just be transparent with our guys and be fair with our guys. That is what I am doing.”

On building culture:

“We have talked about culture before, and you guys have heard me say this, culture is about people, bottom line. When you have the right people, you have the right culture. You are constantly trying to make sure that within your locker room guys are living up to what you believe in, but we do that every day.”

On the status of CB Denzel Ward, who was listed as questionable with a shoulder injury:

“Just going to let the next 48 hours determine that. Not ruling him out. See how he feels over the next couple of days.”

On T James Hudson III expected to start at RT in place of T Jack Conklin, who was ruled out with an ankle injury, and Hudson matching up against Steelers LB T.J. Watt for the second time:

“Last year is last year. He has done a very nice job this season. That is a tough task. We understand how good their defensive front is – obviously, No. 90 – but they have a bunch of really, really good players. That is a very good defense. It is a great challenge for us as an offense to go up against that group. It is a great challenge for us as a team. This is a really good football team. They are well coached. That is why we are excited for the opportunity.”

On if he heard the news that Bills S Damar Hamlin was able to FaceTime and speak with the Bills today:

“I did not know that. That is the power of prayer.”

Story originally appeared on Browns Wire