Published: Saturday, December 9, 2006
Steelers' Porter may be fined for comment about Winslow
The linebacker showed anything but Christmas spirit in describing Cleveland's tight end.
BEREA (AP) The Cleveland Browns had both eyes blackened and their lunch money taken away by the schoolyard bully. Then, Kellen Winslow got called a nasty name.
Apparently, an overpowering 27-7 victory Thursday night wasn't enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who gave the Browns a physical beating and handed out more than a few verbal shots afterward.
Incensed by a late hit on one of his teammates in the fourth quarter by Winslow, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter made a derogatory slur questioning the Cleveland tight end's sexual orientation following the game.
"That's what [blanks] do," Porter said. "He's soft. He wants to be tough but he's really soft."
Winslow keeps silent
Winslow refused to fire back at Porter on Friday, instead choosing to take a higher road.
"He's entitled to his opinion," said Winslow, who tried to shake hands with Porter during pregame warmups. "He's a great player and I have great respect for Joey Porter. If he wants to be a tough guy or whatever, that's fine.
"But that's a classless act. Before the game I just wanted to go and say, 'Let's have a good game' and show my respect. But he didn't want to have that, and that's fine. I see what type of guy he is now. I lost a little respect for him."
Porter could be fined for his inflammatory remarks. NFL spokesman Steve Alic said Friday that the league was aware of Porter's comments and the situation "was under review."
On a running play late in the game, Winslow cracked back and delivered a hard block on Steelers linebacker James Farrior, who was not involved in the tackle and was easing up when Winslow leveled him.
Winslow was penalized for a personal foul and then Cleveland's second-year star was roughed up later that night by Porter.
"He talks too much and doesn't do anything," Porter said. "He should move to wide receiver because he doesn't want to block anybody, he doesn't want to be a tight end."
Winslow doesn't feel his shot on Farrior was unsportsmanlike.
"I didn't think it was a dirty play," he said. "I didn't mean for it to be a dirty play. I was just trying to find somebody to block and do my job.
"If it was a late hit, it was a late hit but when the Steelers got in my face there was no flag thrown. There has to be unsportsmanlike conduct or something. But that's the way it goes sometimes."
The Porter-Winslow affair wasn't the only issue for the Browns (4-9), who were manhandled in all three phases offense, defense and special teams by the Steelers.
Pittsburgh picked up 528 total yards on offense and running back Willie Parker set a club record with 223 218 in three quarters before spending most of the fourth on the bench.
Here and gone
Four days after a comeback win over Kansas City had renewed their confidence, the Browns had it all taken away.
"We got beat all the way across the board," coach Romeo Crennel said. "I don't know why it happened."
Crennel didn't have any answers to several other topics, and neither did several of his players who can't explain the team's inability to put two good games together. Cleveland, which has lost 13 of 14 to Pittsburgh, have gone 55 games without winning two in a row.
"It's not good," linebacker Willie McGinest said. "We want to win. It's frustrating to go into a game thinking that we're ready to go and we play like we did. All you can do is keep working. We have to try and get out of this funk somehow."
On top of everything else, the Browns could be in the early stages of a quarterback controversy.
With starter Charlie Frye out with a bruised right wrist, backup Derek Anderson made his first pro start and finished 21-of-37 for 276 yards with one interception and one touchdown. Anderson's numbers would have been better, but Cleveland's receivers dropped "nine or 10 balls" by Crennel's count.
Last week, Crennel said "Charlie's the starter" when asked about Anderson playing ahead of a healthy Frye. But Anderson's performance has at least opened the possibility that he'll see more time in the final three games.
"I think he's done enough to make it intriguing," Crennel said. "Going down the road, we are going to have to evaluate it and see how we are going to handle it and what we are going to do. Charlie's situation is going to affect that some and Derek's performance from here out will impact that some."