Weeden speaks out on ‘comical’ allegations

CLEVELAND – For Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, the “Sports Illustrated” article written by Thayer Evans about an alleged pay-for-play system at Oklahoma State is comedy at its best.

“I read the first story that came out and literally laughed through the whole thing,” said Weeden, who played at Oklahoma State. “It’s comical for a lot of reasons. It happened before I got there. First of all I have a clean slate. I didn’t take anything.”

When the Oklahoma State question was asked, Weeden’s face lit up. It was a topic he was anxious to discuss.

Weeden said that Evans is “an OU (Oklahoma University) guy” that has issues with Oklahoma State. He was critical of the ex-players who Evans interviewed for the series of stories.

“He’s always had it out for Oklahoma State,” Weeden said. “He came up to me after we beat Texas and said, ‘When is it going to happen? When is Okie State going to pull their Okie choke like they always do?’

“The guys they did question weren’t very good sources. They were kicked off the team for drugs. Guys that were kicked off the team for whatever it might be.”

The story was part of a five-part series. Weeden thinks it could get worse before it improves but added that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy runs a clean program. Weeden also praised the contributions of Oklahoma State financial contributor and Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens.

“I’m surprised that an institution like Sports Illustrated would do 10 months of investigation and have no credible facts to go along with it,” Weeden said. “Mike Gundy runs a clean program. Mr. Pickens is all about doing the right thing. In my five years I saw nothing like that. No wrongdoings that I ever saw.”

OFF DAY: Oft-injured safety T.J. Ward was held out of practice with a sore shoulder. Ward was hurt making a diving tackle last Sunday. He missed a few plays but returned.

Others held out were guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf). Lauvao is progressing well from an injury that sidelined him most of training camp and is close to returning to the starting lineup.

STAYING THE COURSE: The plan will be to stick with Bobby Rainey as the primary kick returner. Rainey, who was in the Ravens’ camp, returned four kicks last week for an average of 25.8 yards. He routinely gave the offense poor field position by returning kicks from deep in the end zone.

SAME OLD JOE: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco says the big contract he signed in the offseason (close to $120 million for six years) hasn’t changed him.

“Any time you win a Super Bowl your life changes a little bit,” Flacco said. “Having said that, it was a pretty typical offseason, getting ready for this season and hanging out with the family. Where my life may seem like it has changed a lot, it’s pretty much the same.”

INJURY REPORT: Limited for the Browns were cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder), Barkevious Mingo and receiver Travis Benjamin (thigh).

Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) has been ruled out. Not able to practice were center Ryan Jensen (foot), receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) and defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe). Defensive tackle Art Jones (illness) and running back Bernard Pierce (thigh) were limited.