Browns defensive lineman Desmond Bryant suffered an injury last month while working out on his own. The team has no obligation to pay Bryant a single penny of his $6 million salary, but maybe it will.
Bryant’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, met with the Browns on Tuesday in an effort to persuade the team to pay a portion of Bryant’s salary for what technically is a “non-football injury” because it didn’t happen on the premises of the team or during an officially-sanctioned game. Under the labor deal, the team has no obligation to pay Bryant, and Rosenhaus told Adam Schefter of ESPN that not much progress was made during the meeting.
The real question becomes whether the team is willing to penalize a guy who was trying to stay in shape by lifting weights during the period between the end of the offseason program and the start of training camp. If the Browns stiff Bryant, every Cleveland player should perhaps sit on the couch and watch bowling and eat pork rinds between the end of the offseason program and the start of camp in 2017.
A separate question relevant to this situation could be whether Bryant was following a recommended exercise routine provided to him by the team’s strength coaches. If so, the moral obligation to pay Bryant is even greater. At some point, an argument could be made that, if Bryant is working out at the behest of the team during the last window of down time before camp, any injury suffered is, as a practical and legal matter, a “football injury.”