Hazing goes awry as near-fight breaks out in Browns locker room
As the team returned from practice Friday, a dripping-wet Francies, who had been soaked by teammates, stormed into the locker room carrying a water bucket full of ice. Before he could be stopped, Francies tossed the ice on cornerback Brandon McDonald, hitting him with cubes and covering the floor.
Francies flung some ice in the direction of safety Mike Adams before heading toward safety Abram Elam's corner cubicle. Francies then swung his arms at Elam, who deflected the blows, before Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers grabbed him by the back of the shirt and escorted him out a side door.
The incident happened while the locker room was open to reporters. The Browns (0-2) play at Baltimore on Sunday.
"Calm down, man," Rogers told Francies as he pushed him outside.
Francies returned a few minutes later and went straight to his stall at the back of the locker room, next to the equipment area. He still seemed irritated so as he sat there. Rogers, linebackers D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton and safety Brodney Pool tried to calm him down.
At the other end, McDonald did some housekeeping in front of his stall.
"It was just guys having fun," McDonald said, whisking the ice into a dust pan with a broom. "I was the first one he saw. He got a little aggressive, it's no big deal. We handled it. It's over now and we're going to worry about the Ravens. We don't want to have any misconceptions in the locker room.
"So that's it. We took care of it, and we're moving on."
After dressing, Francies had cooled down enough to smile.
"It's all just fun and games," he said. "We were just playing around."
Later, Francies went to coach Eric Mangini's office to explain what happened and acknowledged he had overreacted.
Mangini wanted to do some further investigating and consulted with other players and team leaders to make sure there was no lingering conflict.
"I said, 'Was there anything malicious about this? Is there something deeper here?"' Mangini said. "And to a man, they said, 'No it was nothing like that.' He's a rookie, he's young. He should have put it in the right context. I trust the guys I talked to. I talked to him afterward and he said, 'I should have handled it differently."'
The Browns dropped their first two games with second-half collapses in both. But despite the slow start, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan senses that Cleveland's players are determined to turn their season around.
"I know our guys are ready to fight," he said. "They're starting to care for each other. We're coming together. I can see it."