Green makes court appearance

Updated: December 3, 2003, 8:29 PM ET
Associated Press

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- Suspended Browns running back William Green will have a March 8 pretrial hearing on drunken driving and marijuana possession charges.

Green appeared in court Wednesday, when the hearing had been scheduled. Green's lawyer was granted the new date, telling the judge he recently moved his office and did not receive case documents.

Green was suspended four games on Nov. 8 for violating the league's substance abuse program. The second-year player was eligible to return to the team Monday, but the league Tuesday extended his suspension for "treatment purposes."

The league said commissioner Paul Tagliabue will decide when the player can return.

While serving his suspension, Green's fiancee was accused of stabbing him in the back with a steak knife. Asia Gray was charged with felonious assault and domestic violence.

The league's decision to lengthen Green's ban indefinitely makes it unlikely he will play again this season. Browns coach Butch Davis refused to address questions about Green's future on Monday.

"William has some personal issues right now that he has to address," Davis said. "He's got to take care of these things. When those things are taken care of and resolved, we'll decide exactly what William's future is, but right now it's all premature."

Before the 2001 draft, the Browns were aware that Green, whose parents died of AIDS when he was a teenager, was twice suspended for marijuana use at Boston College.

But the club felt it could help Green deal with his problems, and selected him with the 16th overall pick before signing him to a five-year contract worth $12 million if he reached incentives.

When Green got off to a rough start as a rookie, the Browns began to wonder if they made the right choice. But the speedy 6-foot, 215-pounder emerged in the second half of 2002, rushing for 726 yards in his final seven games to help the Browns qualify for the playoffs.

Browns president Carmen Policy has said the Browns will support Green as long as he continues to show a willingness to get better and make lifestyle changes.

The Browns have been frustrated with their inability to interact with Green during his suspension because of league rules. On Tuesday, Policy said the club will continue to abide by the league's guidelines.

"Our primary goal, as it has always been, is for William to take the necessary steps to resolving his personal matters," Policy said in a statement. "He continues to have our support."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press