POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 06, 2014
CLEVELAND >> Davone Bess had a disappointing first season with the Browns. His offseason was far more disturbing.
The team released the troubled wide receiver Wednesday, ending his stay in Cleveland after less than a year and following a pattern of bizarre behavior that included his arrest for assaulting a law enforcement officer.
Bess, who was acquired in April from Miami, never lived up to on-field expectations, and his personal problems led the Browns to end their relationship.
The 28-year-old former UH standout is still owed $3.06 million for 2014, but the Browns may try to recoup some of that money. A team spokesman would not say if Bess had broken any agreements in his contract.
The Browns traded for Bess during the draft last year and immediately signed the sure-handed veteran to a three-year, $11.5 million contract extension that included $5.75 million guaranteed. The Browns believed Bess would fill a hole at slot receiver and bring leadership to their young wideouts, including Josh Gordon, Greg Little and Travis Benjamin.
However, Bess didn't deliver at all and his personal problems escalated in recent months.
Bess finished with career lows in catches (42) and yards (362) last season, and he had several crucial drops that hurt the Browns. Bess, who spent his first five NFL seasons with the Dolphins, also muffed a punt in Kansas City, costing the Browns a chance to upset the then-unbeaten Chiefs. He never ducked any criticism for the poor performance, owned up to his mistakes and bounced back with two touchdown catches the following week in a win over Baltimore.
However, he missed Cleveland's final two games for personal reasons, and after the season ended, other issues surfaced.
One day after Bess left the team, a photo posted on his Instagram account showed him lighting a cigarette or joint with a Rastafarian flag draped over his shoulders. The following day, the Browns placed him on the reserve/non-football illness list and then-coach Rob Chudzinski explained Bess was dealing with a family issue.
On Jan. 16, Bess posted a photo on Twitter of a small package containing what appeared to be marijuana. The photo was deleted, but it raised further questions about his judgment.
Those concerns grew the following day when Bess was charged with assault on an officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct following a confrontation at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.
According to the police report, Bess was "acting irrationally, dancing, singing with his pants repeatedly falling down." Bess also reportedly took up a "fighting stance" with the officer.
It was later learned that Bess had a run-in with police shortly before he was traded to Cleveland and his family had him hospitalized against his will.