The Cleveland Browns are in trouble again. A report from ESPN has confirmed that Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Armonty Bryant will not play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs after being arrested early Friday morning. Ohio Highway Patrol apprehended safety De’Ante Saunders and Bryant early Friday morning after a traffic stop, the team announced on Saturday.
The Browns did not release details about the incident, but according to Cleveland 19 News investigative reporter Scott Taylor, Saunders was driving along Ohio’s Interstate-71 when he was stopped and arrested at 2:16 a.m. ET on Friday for OVI, the state’s equivalent to driving under the influence, and speeding. It is unclear why Bryant, who was with Saunders in the vehicle, was arrested.
Taylor adds that sources also said authorities discovered a gun and Adderall, a prescription drug used commonly to treat ADHD, in the vehicle. Berea prosecutors will decide if any potential criminal charges should be filed against either player or whether Bryant will need to provide a prescription for the Adderall.
After hearing the news, the Browns benched Bryant for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, ordering him to remain in Ohio so he can tend to this personal legal matter. Bryant has the second most sacks for the Browns, with 5.5, and has 28 tackles.
The Browns made no mention of what would happen to Saunders, but Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer issued a strongly worded statement to express his disappointment in both players.
This is the third time that Bryant has been in trouble with the law in the past four years. In 2012, He was placed on five years of probation after he was caught selling marijuana in a parking lot when he was at East Central University in Oklahoma. After he was drafted by the Browns in 2013, he was cited for a DUI near the school.
The arrest of Bryant, part of the linebacker rotation, is a big blow for the Browns and for Bryant, who’s made great strides this season after coming off a torn ACL in 2014.
One of the team’s best pass-rushers since he made the switch from defensive end to linebacker this season, Bryant has stayed out of trouble after the Browns took a chance on him in the seventh round of the 2013 draft out of Division II East Central University in Oklahoma.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said the team checked into Bryant’s background and felt comfortable enough to draft him, especially after defensive line coach Joe Cullen flew to Oklahoma to work him out. Bryant was one of only five players selected by the Browns.
“Through the course of looking into his background with coach Cullen out there, as well as our scouting staff, we felt like he is past the mistakes that he’s made and ready to move on,” Chudzinski said. “He’s matured.”
Bryant, the 217th overall pick, was surprised to be drafted at all. He was prepared to be a free agent and wait for a team to take a chance on his talent. The Browns stuck with him because of his pass-rush potential, and he didn’t let them down in that regard. In fact, he’s been more productive coming off the edge than outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the No.6 overall pick that year.
In a season of few bright spots, Bryant was making an impact. He was a defensive project that was starting to look like a genius move for the Browns franchise. The Browns have already endured problems with Johnny Manziel’s drinking and domestic problems. The off-season will be interesting in Cleveland.
[Feature Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]