More questions were raised this morning about the off-field behavior of wide receiver Davone Bess and his future with the Browns when a photograph featuring what appears to be a cigar and a potential banned substance was posted on his official Twitter account.
“The team is aware of the photos and looking further into the situation, and will deal with the matter internally,” a Browns spokesman said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had no comment.
A photo posted at 7:20 a.m. today from Plantation, Fla., shows what looks like a cigar on a table beside a small bag containing a green and brown substance that looks like marijuana. The bag is atop a phone with a screen saver that reads, “Jah,” which means God in the Rastafarian culture. Some of the substance is out of the bag and spread on the table. A glass of a clear beverage and a bottle of 5-hour Energy drink are also shown.
A separate photo posted at 7:32 a.m. today shows Bess posing with a woman in a garage beside a car. Bess is shown with a cigarette or cigarillo in his mouth.
The photos have since been deleted from Bess' account.
This isn’t the first time Bess has created a stir with a controversial photo. On Dec. 20, a photo posted on Bess’ Instagram account showed him sitting outdoors on a deck next to a picture of reggae icon Bob Marley and lighting a cigarette or cigarillo with a Rasta flag draped around his shoulders and neck. The Browns and former coach Rob Chudzinski declined to comment at the time.
The Browns practiced the same day when the first photo appeared online, but Bess was away from the team because he was dealing with a family issue. The next day, the Browns placed Bess on the reserve/non-football illness list, citing personal reasons. As a result, he missed the final two games of the season.
The Browns thought Bess, 28, would provide reliability when they swapped draft picks with the Miami Dolphins and traded for him in April. The organization signed him to a three-year, $11.5 million contract extension through 2016, which includes $5.75 million guaranteed. He’s scheduled to make $3.067 million in 2014.
Bess, however, proved to be a major disappointment in his first season with the Browns. For the first time in his six-year NFL career, he failed to catch at least 50 passes, finishing with 42 receptions for 362 yards and two touchdowns. He also ranked second in the NFL with 14 dropped passes, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Out of 111 receivers, the website rated Bess 108th and teammate Greg Little dead last.