Agent points to Mangini for WR's injury

Updated: August 9, 2009, 5:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cleveland Browns reserve receiver Syndric Steptoe will miss the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, and his agent says coach Eric Mangini's decision-making is to blame, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Steptoe
Steptoe

The third-year veteran sustained the injury during Saturday's practice.

Agent Jerome Stanley said a last-minute change of plans from walk-through drills, which the players had expected, to a full-speed practice in heavy rain was the root of the injury.

"The coaches should more carefully weigh the risk of injury in practice decisions,'' Stanley said, according to the Plain Dealer. "My understanding is that the team was on the field for a walk-through the day before the scrimmage. The walk-through turned into a full practice in a driving rain."

The newspaper said Steptoe, the Browns seventh-round pick in 2007 who started five of 16 games last season, was carted off clutching his shoulder, though the specifics of how he was injured were unclear.

Saturday's practice consisted of no-contact drills in shorts and jerseys with no pads and no live tackling.

"Obviously, hindsight gives one a different perspective," Stanley said. "But if the practice had stayed a walk-through, Syndric wouldn't be preparing for season-ending surgery right now. The decision produced a bad result for the kid and the team.''

The Browns aren't confirming or commenting on injuries in training camp, the report said.

Steptoe had been practicing as a backup wideout and a kick returner.

Mangini, who ended the practice 20 minutes early because of the rain, was not available for comment, the report said.

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