Little’s violations raise questions about character

CLEVELAND – Greg Little has talked a lot about maturing as a person during training camp.

Obviously, the Browns receiver wasn’t getting his internal message. How else do explain the speeding violations that surfaced in light of being stopped by police last Monday for driving 81 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate-71 near Strongsville?

That wasn’t the only ticket Little has received for dangerous operation of his vehicle. In April he was timed at 127 in a 55 zone drag racing on the Jennings Freeway near the Spring Road exit. Little crashed his car into a guard rail, leveling a light post and leaving 40 yards of brake tracks.

Among Little’s other violations were driving with an expired license. He was fined $350 for the April accident.

Fellow receiver Josh Gordon, who’s had his share of off-the-field issues, also has been in trouble with authorities concerning a penchant for fast driving. Gordon was stopped for going 45 in a 25 zone last May. Earlier this month he was stopped for driving 98 in a 60 zone.

“We take that seriously,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “It’s not acceptable. I’ve sat down with both of those guys individually and talked to them and addressed with them as well as the team.”

Little has often talked about the need to be more responsible. The latest revelations about his driving habits shine a bad light on the organization.

“It was really a mindless, careless effort on my behalf,” Little said. “It’s not thinking at all. It’s being careless of the fact there are other people on the road.”

Chudzinski wouldn’t detail what he told the players and their teammates. Asked if punishment was involved, Chudzinski said, “Not this week.”

Speeding and professional athletes have gone together well over time. Last year former Brown Joshua Cribbs was ticketed for going 103 mph. Former Browns receiver Braylon Edwards was stopped multiple times for speeding. Marcus Benard, another former Brown, was in a motorcycle accident in 2011 that could have been deadly.

Little and Gordon will be watched closely by the organization in coming weeks. Gordon is already on a short leash, according to CEO Joe Banner, for multiple incidents with marijuana in college and a two-game suspension this year for using the banned substance codeine.

“Now everything he (Little) does is going to be talked about and written about,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “Being around the area, people drive pretty calm around here. It’s not like you’re living in a big metropolitan area like Maryland and D.C., where I’m from.”

Little has had an off-and-on relationship with fans since arriving as a second-round draft choice in 2011. He was engaged in a twitter war of words last season before closing his twitter account.

These latest revelations indicate that Little hasn’t grown as much as he claims.

“I’m trying to do all the right things so I have the right reputation,” Little said.

This wasn’t an issue that Chudzinski wanted to be dealing with as he puts the finishing touches on his first training camp as coach of the Browns. He’s finding out what it’s like to deal with a large group of professional athletes, some of whom have a sense of invincibility and the belief they can do whatever they please.

“That’s on a case-by-case basis,” Chudzinski said. “All we’re trying to do is build a team and a foundation of accountability.”