The Cleveland Browns gave the final knockout blow to defensive lineman Shaun Smith by releasing him Saturday. The move does not come as a shock due to Smith's demeanor as a person. He has always appeared to be a hothead, and last year he punched teammate Brady Quinn in the face, making more of an impact than he had all season.
In the offseason, the new regime reportedly told Smith to "shape up and shut up". Smith showed up to camp with mixed reports from fans and the media about him -- some said he looked lazy and out of shape, while others said he was keeping his attitude in line a little bit more. Smith would have added to our depth on the defensive line, but I don't think we should look at this as a significant loss.
A few things might have led to the early release of Smith:
- Mangini might want a reputation that he'll at least give players the respect of playing about a week in camp, rather than assuming their attitude from the past will carry over (he could have cut him before camp if he wanted to).
- The play of DE Robaire Smith has been encouraging as he comes off of surgery.
- NT Ahtyba Rubin seems to have a grip on the backup nose tackle position.
- In acquiring DL Kenyon Coleman and DL C.J. Mosley in the offseason, Mangini would rather use our depth on players who have experience in the system.
There is no word on who the Browns will bring in to take the roster space of Smith. Mangini should comment on the release of Smith a little bit later.