Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s “crazy” outlet for his frustration in Monday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers cost him as well as his team.
On Saturday, the league fined Clowney $12,875 for throwing receiver Chase Claypool’s shoe in the Browns’ 26-14 loss at Heinz Field.
Clowney drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the incident and the flag extended the Steelers’ first touchdown drive, giving them a lead they never relinquished.
The league fined Malik Jackson, Browns’ defensive tackle, $10,353 for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Steelers’ 48-yard field kick by Chris Boswell, with just 5:48 left.
Steelers defensive tackle Rashaad Coward was also flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct during the kick, resulting in offsetting penalties, but he was not fined.
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Clowney’s penalty was a bigger factor in the final outcome. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s pass to Claypool picked up only 3 yards on third-and-10. Given a new set of downs at the Cleveland 18 by Clowney’s gaffe, the Steelers scored three plays later on Diontae Johnson’s 5-yard touchdown catch.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s — you can’t do that. I mean, you’re hurting the team,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game. “It’s crazy. It’s not smart. You know, he felt like he was just — I’ll let him answer it.”
Clowney did not speak to the media postgame or leading up to the Browns’ season finale against the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Clowney recorded two sacks of Roethlisberger, but Clowney’s teammates were critical of his poor decision. After the catch, Claypool was thrown to the ground and Clowney grabbed Claypool by the ankle.
“It’s a play that we can’t have. It’s undisciplined. He’d be the first to tell you that’s a bonehead play by him, that’s what a leader does. He owned up to it right away,” linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. said Monday.
Myles Garrett (Browns defensive end) said that he had spoken to Clowney concerning the incident.
“I told him we can’t do that, we’ve got to be smarter,” Garrett said Monday. “If he doesn’t throw the shoe, we’re off the field.”