Browns suspend William Green one game

Updated: November 3, 2003, 6:09 PM ET

BEREA, Ohio -- Browns running back William Green was suspended for one game by Cleveland coach Butch Davis, who was disappointed by the arrest of one of his top players on charges of driving under the influence.

Green, also cited last week for marijuana possession, will sit out this Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Davis announced after Monday's practice.

"It's an unfortunate thing," Davis said. "He's embarrassed. He's disappointed. We're disappointed, but we're going to move on. There has to be accountability and there has to be consequences."

Davis said he has not yet heard from the NFL if there will be any further punishment against Green, the Browns' leading rusher who was twice suspended for marijuana use while at Boston College.

It is not known if the 23-year-old Green is in the league's substance abuse program. The league does not announce suspensions until after a case has gone through the legal system.

If Green is a repeat offender, he could receive a four-game suspension.

Green was arrested last Monday evening -- just a few hours after leaving the team's training facility -- by Westlake, Ohio, police who pulled him over for driving erratically in his sports utility vehicle.

He failed a field sobriety test and a breath test, which showed he had a blood alcohol level of .165 -- more than twice Ohio's legal limit of .08.

Police said they found a a bag of marijuana weighing 3.2 grams in Green's SUV, which he was driving with a flat tire.

Green has pleaded innocent to the charges. His lawyer, Brian P. Downey, said Green has a pretrial hearing set for Dec. 3.

The arrest came during Cleveland's bye week, one day after the second-year player missed the Browns' 9-3 loss at New England with a separated shoulder.

Green was not available to reporters before or after practice. Davis said Green, who was on the practice field, was healthy enough he would have played the previous day.

Davis said he suspended Green for being a distraction to the team, and for detrimental conduct.

"I made no judgment on guilt or innocence," Davis said. "It's not my job."

If convicted of DUI, Green could be put on probation or face up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. The marijuana charge is a misdemeanor and carries a $100 fine.

Davis also expressed frustration at not being able to more closely monitor players who may need counseling for substance abuse. The NFLPA's collective bargaining agreement protects the privacy of players on those matters.

"Because of confidentiality, a lot of people are out of the loop," Davis said. "As proactive as you'd like to be as a coach, you are pretty much cut out of the entire procedure.

"I know what a lot of the people in the NFL struggle with is that you're not privy to any of the information. You never see any of the results of any of the substance abuse tests. They do random tests on players on this team every week, and we're the last people to get the information."

Davis said that before dismissing his players for four days at the end of their bye week he warned them about acting responsibly during their time away.

"Unfortunately, that speech didn't get delivered until Tuesday," he said. "We've talked about accountability and responsibility for a long, long time."

Green's suspension will put even more pressure on the Browns' struggling offense, which has been ravaged by injuries and plagued by inconsistency.

Davis said quarterback Kelly Holcomb will start for the first time since Sept. 21. Wide receiver Kevin Johnson is being benched for Andre' Davis.

Holcomb had missed five starts with a broken right leg, but relieved Tim Couch in the last two.

James Jackson is expected to start for Green, with Jamel White his backup. The Browns also are likely to activate rookie Lee Suggs, who has been on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Davis' punishment of Green, the Browns' first-round draft pick in 2002, is consistent with the disciplinary action he took against other players who have been arrested.

In 2001, defensive tackle Gerard Warren, fullback Mike Sellers and cornerback Lamar Chapman each received one-game suspensions following their arrests in separate incidents.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index