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Pettine: Not many quarterbacks I respect more than Russell Wilson

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Mike Pettine of the Cleveland Browns applauds his team during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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Browns coach Mike Pettine made some headlines Wednesday with his response to a question about where Russell Wilson ranks among the league’s top quarterbacks.

Pettine said that Wilson has “played himself into that next tier” behind quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger and stopped short of saying Wilson was the kind of quarterback who could “transcend their supporting cast.” Responses to Pettine’s remarks covered varied ground, but a popular refrain was that Pettine didn’t gain much by sharing those candid opinions before facing the Seahawks this weekend.

Pettine was on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Ross Tucker and Booger McFarland on Thursday and Wilson was a topic of conversation once again. Pettine said that people took the worst interpretation of his comments and that he would need to see Wilson play at a high level for a longer period to bump him up the ladder.
“There aren’t too many quarterbacks I have more respect for than Russell Wilson,” Pettine said. “All the guy does is go out and do everything right and win football games. To sit and take one fragment of what I said … It’s not my job to rank quarterbacks. I know the bottom line for those guys is, and he said it himself, is to win football games and he’s one of the best at that.”

That answer is a lot more like what we’ve grown accustomed to from NFL coaches and wouldn’t have drawn much attention if it was the one Pettine gave on Wednesday. That’s not so good for us, but the response does illustrate why coaches generally stay out of such discussions about players from other teams.