Browns coach calls criticism of Joe Haden ‘unwarranted’

BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Browns coach Mike Pettine called the criticism directed at Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden for not playing in Sunday’s game because of a broken finger “unwarranted.”

Pettine said he spoke with Haden, who tested his finger during pregame warmups before choosing not to play. Pettine said he’s partially responsible for the condemnation toward Haden because he didn’t do an adequate job explaining why his top defensive player decided to sit out Cleveland’s 30-27 loss.

Pettine said he misspoke and that Haden “wanted to be out there, he wanted to play,” but felt he wasn’t 100 percent and would have put the team at risk. Pettine called Haden “one of the faces of our franchise.”

The Browns have provided a written explanation to the NFL, which is investigating why Haden didn’t play after being listed as “probable” on the injury report.

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