The NFL is investigating whether text messages were sent to the sideline of the Cleveland Browns, which would be a violation of league rules.
According to ESPN.com, the Browns said in a statement they're reviewing the matter internally and that they will fully cooperate with the NFL's investigation.
The investigation stems from a report earlier this week from Cleveland.com about offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and friction between the Browns' coaching staff and front office.
The report stated that Shanahan would consider leaving even on a lateral move due to said friction, and that one source of the staff's frustration came from a high-ranking front office member texting about play calls from the press box to the sideline.
ESPN.com reported that the texts also were about personnel decisions and that the messages were a subject of discussion among some players and coaches toward the end of the season.
NFL rules prohibit the use of cell phones, tablets, computers and any similar devices in any team-controlled areas (including the locker room and sideline) from 90 minutes before a game starts until the game's conclusion. It's unclear what penalties the Browns could face if they are found to have committed a rules violation.
It's been reported that Shanahan and the Browns have decided to part ways as a result of the tension between the coaching staff and front office. Shanahan joined the team as offensive coordinator before this season after spending the previous four years in the same position for the Washington Redskins.
Cleveland went 7-9 this season and finished last in the AFC North for the fourth consecutive year. The Browns haven't made the playoffs since 2002.
- Ben Estes