Browns official broke NFL rules by texting coaches during game?
Kyle Shanahan was granted his release by the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, and it sounds like his decision to leave had to do with the team not giving him enough freedom. One report from earlier this week indicated that a high-ranking Browns official sent a text message from his luxury box to the sideline to question play-calling during at least one game.
Pro Football Talk has confirmed that report. In addition to possibly costing the Browns their offensive coordinator, PFT notes that the alleged text message may have violated the NFL’s rules on electronic communication.
“Unless specifically permitted by League rules, the use of cellular phones, smart phones, tablet devices, computers, wearable electronic devices such as Google Glass, and other electronic equipment by coaches, players, and other club personnel is prohibited in club-controlled areas including, but not limited to, sidelines and coaches’ booths,” the league’s electronic devices rule states. “These restrictions apply from 90 minutes prior to kickoff through the end of the game, including halftime. Coaches, players, and other team personnel are permitted to use such electronic devices in the locker room prior to kickoff and are permitted to use League-issued Microsoft Surface tablets throughout game day for viewing coaches’ still photos.”
In 2006, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Jim Mora was fined $25,000 for using a cell phone on the sideline. All Mora was trying to do was figure out what his team’s playoff status was while the Falcons were in a tie game in overtime late in the season.
If the text message from a high-ranking official is something that happened once, the league probably won’t do anything about it. But if it’s something that happened frequently and one of the main reasons Shanahan wanted out, the Browns could have an issue.
Initially, people believed Shanahan wanted to leave Cleveland because of a certain quarterback. We learned on Thursday that Shanahan actually gets along with that player, so maybe there is something to the alleged text message report.