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NFL News: John Moffitt says Browns failed his physical due to salary dispute

One-time trade target of the Cleveland Browns, John Moffitt, says that the team failed his physical, thus nullifying his acquisition, after he refused to take less money.

“I haven’t said this publicly – they suck. Cleveland sucks,” Moffitt told 710 ESPN Seattle. “They are so terrible and the way that they did me in that front office was so dirty. They failed me on a B.S. physical. They took me in, they MRI-ed me, they ran me through their gamut, they flew me out there that night, and I saw the MRIs with the doctor. I went through all the slides with the doctor ‘cause I knew, I’m like, ‘I want to see this, right?’ So [the doctor] goes to me, he’s like, ‘You’ve got a little bit of arthritis, but for the knee injury, you’re fine.’

“So then they call my agent, and [he’s] like, ‘They want you to take less money. They want you to do a split or something like that.’ I’m like, ‘No. No, I’m on a basic contract. I’m not doing a split.’ And then my agent finally did some work and figured out that per the CBA you can’t do that on a trade. So now they just call me up to [their] office and they said, ‘We’re going to fail you on your physical.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, OK.’ I went in with the GM [Mike Lombardi], though, and talked to him, and they tried tell me, they tried to get the head trainer [Joe Sheehan] to tell me that my knee wasn’t right and they said that the slides were in there, basically trying to lie to me. I was like, ‘That’s great. Thanks. You guys really set me up here ‘cause you failed me on a physical [and] the whole league’s going to know.’”

After the Browns voided the trade, Moffitt passed the Broncos’ physical to make that deal official. He played in two games with the Broncos.

Moffitt recently decided to walk away from the game of football, citing lifestyle changes and the physical and mental toll of the NFL. The Browns vehemently deny any wrongdoing, saying that the only reason Moffitt is not a member of the Browns is due to the failed physical.

[Related: John Moffitt: “It would have been easy to walk away from Browns”]

  • bupalos

    Agree with all of this except the shady part. If everyone is doing this, then it isn’t hurting any player and it ceases to be shady. The market is the same as if no one was doing it, because all the buyers understand that the official reasoning behind rejection by other buyers is bogus.

    The problem is as you allude. There is too little guaranteed money in the highest risk sport.

  • bupalos

    In a market where you are competing for free agents, it would be insane to make all your money worth less by some nickel and dime blackmail of a <1M player. Just insane. And that is supposing that such blackmail is even possible, which rests on the very tenuous assumption that other teams accept the results of your team's physical. All the evidence points the other way.