The Browns waived cornerback Dimitri Patterson, the team announced today.
Patterson emerged last season as the team’s top nickel corner and was rewarded during the offseason. In March, Patterson signed a three-year contract worth about $16 million, including $6 million guaranteed.
Patterson did not immediately respond to an e-mail from the Beacon Journal seeking comment about his release. Patterson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, replied to an e-mail but declined to comment.
Patterson, 29, missed seven games this season with a left high-ankle sprain and torn ligament he suffered Oct. 7 against the New York Giants. Patterson didn’t do himself any favors in the eyes of the coaching staff by missing that much time. The tension became obvious a couple of weeks ago when he wasn't summoned to return to action even though he said he was ready.
During the week leading up to the Browns’ game Dec. 2 against the Oakland Raiders, Patterson repeatedly insisted he was ready to play again.
“I don't have that call,” Patterson said Nov. 28. “That's on [coach Pat] Shurmur, but I'm preparing as if I'm playing.”
On Nov. 29, Shurmur was asked how valuable Patterson was in his role as the Browns’ corner who consistently covered the opposing team’s slot receiver.
“He’s valuable when he’s healthy and he’s out there,” Shurmur said. “We haven’t had him for a better part of six weeks now. The challenge for him now is to get healthy so he can get on the field and play. That’s the challenge and I will say this, nobody at this time of year is 100 percent. I think he’s trying to get himself going as best he can to get close to that.”
Patterson learned Nov. 30 he had been ruled out against the Raiders and wouldn’t travel with the team.
“Disappointed? Not really," Patterson said. "You can control what you can control. At the end of the day, I'm coming back from a really tough injury. I'm ready. But it's how these things work sometimes.
“You can't control your number being called. So you've just got to continue to work, respect the decision and just move forward. That's really all you can do.”
Patterson returned to action Dec. 9 in the Browns' 30-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs and played 46 percent of the defensive snaps. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron complimented him last week for his performance.
“He was in on all of the snaps that he was prepared to be in on in our sub package,” Jauron said Dec. 13. “He did a nice job. He did a very nice job.”
Patterson also played 47 percent of the snaps Sunday in the Browns' 38-21 loss to the Washington Redskins.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Patterson played in seven games this season and compiled 28 tackles and five passes defensed.
With Patterson gone, Buster Skrine is next in line to become the Browns’ full-time nickel corner. The Browns have yet to announce a corresponding move to fill Patterson's old spot on the 53-man roster.