Before straining his right shoulder against the Chargers on Oct.
19, Browns running back William Green was beginning to fulfill
the promise that led the club to take him with the 16th pick in
the 2000 draft. Green had rushed for 1,285 yards in his last 14
games, but trouble soon followed. He was arrested for DUI on Oct.
27 (his court case is pending) and suspended by the Browns for
their next game, against the Chiefs. Then the league extended the
suspension another three games for violating its substance-abuse
policy. Last week Green was stabbed in the back in his suburban
Cleveland house. He was not seriously hurt, but his fiancee was
charged with felonious assault and domestic violence. (She
pleaded not guilty.) During their investigation, police say they
found marijuana in his house.
The NFL doesn't allow a team to have contact with a suspended
player, but the Browns have asked to the league to reconsider its
policy, saying a franchise shouldn't be forced to turn its back
on troubled players. As an example, they cite Green, who received
a pair of one-game suspensions at Boston College and whose
parents died of AIDS when he was a teenager. "In all of my
dealings with college and pro athletes who've had substance
problems and family problems, I've been told they need structure,
counseling and treatment in their lives," says Cleveland coach
Butch Davis. "The one thing they shouldn't have is isolation.
William has no parents. He's from as tough a background as any
guy playing in the NFL. He needs help. --P.K.