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Hue Jackson calls timing of Donte Whitner’s release “unfortunate”

Hue Jackson, Jimmy Haslam

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, right, laughs as he answers questions during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Berea, Ohio. Jackson has experience as a head coach, knows the AFC North and has fixed quarterbacks. Jackson, who waited four years for his second crack at leading an NFL team, has been hired as Cleveland’s next coach, the struggling franchise’s eighth since 1999 and sixth since 2008. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is on the left. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


The Browns held onto safety Donte Whitner until cutting him two days before the start of their offseason program, a decision that delayed Whitener’s entrance into free agency and made it harder for him to find a new team.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said today that he’s aware it wasn’t ideal timing.

“I know it was a hard situation,” Jackson said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “But I think we all know in the National Football League decisions are made when it’s time to make those decisions, and it’s unfortunate that it happened when it did. But at the same time, I think you guys know there’s never any perfect timing to make those choices except for when you make them. You guys have seen guys that’s going to be let go right before the draft, right after the draft, and there will be some in training camp. So I get it. I know it’s unfortunate it happened that way. But I think we all recognize and know that those things do happen. We made the decision when it was time for us to make the decision. Obviously that decision wasn’t made before because if it was we would have made that decision earlier. So I get it and I know the feeling in that situation. But trust me, we went through this 1,000 times to get to that conclusion, so it wasn’t like it was just a knee-jerk reaction.”

In other words, the Browns waited to cut Whitner because they weren’t sure that was what they wanted to do until just before the start of the offseason program. That doesn’t sit well with Whitner because he would have preferred to have more time to plan for his future, but that’s a benefit teams have when a player’s contract doesn’t include a bonus that kicks in at the start of the league year.