Kizer vows to end off-field ‘distractions’
BEREA — DeShone Kizer’s on-field mistakes have hurt the winless Browns.
He doesn’t want to make things worse with his off-field behavior.
The rookie quarterback, who has been benched three times in three weeks for interceptions, vowed Monday to change his habits after a video surfaced of him at a bar with some teammates on Friday night.
Kizer met Monday with coach Hue Jackson to discuss his actions, the latest drama surrounding the Browns (0-7), who will play Minnesota in London this week. Jackson was unaware of the video until it was pointed out to him following Sunday’s overtime loss to Tennessee.
Jackson was surprised to learn of Kizer’s actions and the 21-year-old QB said he better understands that he being an NFL starter is much more than knowing the plays and making throws.
“As a quarterback of this organization, I know there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that and a big part of it is being a leader,” he said, “and being a leader is making sure you understand that distractions in any fashion aren’t good for an ultimate goal and when you become the centerpiece of a distraction for a week, it definitely is very frustrating on my part. That’s not who I am. My mother wouldn’t be proud of this and that’s pretty much the biggest takeaway — is do whatever you can to make sure you’re not a distraction.”
Jackson benched Kizer in the second half on Sunday after the second-round pick from Notre Dame threw his second interception — and 11th this season — on consecutive possessions. Following the game, Jackson was blindsided by the report on Kizer, which came on the heels of the Browns fining wide receivers Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman for missing a curfew when the team was in Houston and sending them home.
Jackson, who is under pressure because of a 1-22 record over the past two seasons, has warned his players about the perils of going out publicly. He didn’t have a problem with Kizer’s social activity, but urged him to be more cautious.
“They are young men and they can go out,” he said. “I don’t think anybody was doing something wrong or anything like that. Again, as long as there is not anyone coming to me saying, ‘This guy committed a crime or did something wrong or I don’t think the guy is on top of what I think he needs to be on top of,’ would it be an issue in my mind.
“Our players, our quarterback, whoever that is, you want to make sure that those guys understand the situations that you can and can’t be in. Sometimes people make bad judgments and bad decisions until they truly understand that everybody is watching, especially when you are in the midst of a season like we are. Everybody has to be careful, not just DeShone, not just the quarterback, I think all of our players do, just because I think those are the things that become headlines more so than what is really the issue is we have to play football better.”
Jackson hasn’t decided if Kizer will start this week. He brought in Cody Kessler in the second half Sunday.
Kevin Hogan, who started last week at Houston, could be available after being sidelined with bruised ribs.
Jackson said Kizer’s late-night adventures will not have any bearing on his decision.