Gene Smith shouldn’t be expecting any fruit baskets from Berea, Ohio this Christmas.
Smith, the Jaguars first-year General Manager, knocked noses out of joint with the Browns when he claimed rookie corner Don Carey off of the waived/injured list earlier this month.
Carey, a sixth-round pick out of Norfolk State, suffered a shoulder injury early in camp and, as Tony Grossi explained in Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, was likely headed for season-ending surgery.
So the Browns rolled the dice and waived him, knowing that, if he went through unclaimed, they could put him on injured reserve and not give up a training camp roster spot.
But Smith bucked convention and claimed Carey.
A source told Grossi that Smith’s move was “unethical,” pointing out that, “We all have to ‘waive/injured’ players every year. We’re all in the same boat. You just don’t claim those guys.”
Another source told Grossi that the Browns should have sucked it up and gone with 79 players on their training camp roster and waited until the first roster cuts when they could have put Carey on injured reserve without passing him through waivers.
So I called a source with no link to the situation and asked if any “unwrittens” were violated.
The source told me that, as he understood it, the Browns did research to find out the last time a player was claimed off the waived/injured list. It hadn’t happened in three years.
But, the source (MY source) added that Smith is working hard to fix a sorry roster in Jacksonville and if he steps on a toe or two while that gets done, that’s to be expected.
But when the Browns and G.M. George Kokinis get a shot at making life a little more difficult for Smith and Jacksonville they’ll take that shot.