Browns tight end Darnell Dinkins confirmed a confrontation last week between quarterback Brady Quinn and defensive lineman Shaun Smith on a Monday morning appearance on Cleveland's WQAL FM-104 radio.
According to Christopher Maduri, senior vice president and market manager of WQAL, Dinkins said on the ''Wilde and Fee'' show that he did not witness the incident, but that something happened between Quinn and Smith. Dinkins said coach Romeo Crennel was upset and took care of the matter. Dinkins added that he saw a mark on Quinn's face.
WQAL would not release audio of Dinkins' time on the air.
Crennel refused to confirm the incident in his Monday press conference, but acknowledged that Smith was inactive for Sunday's home game against Cincinnati because of a coach's decision, not due to the calf injury that has plagued him for weeks.
WKYC-TV's Jim Donovan reported Sunday night that there was a verbal exchange between the Smith and Quinn in the middle of last week and Smith punched Quinn in the face.
Donovan, the play-by-play voice of the Browns, said the two were told to go in the weight room by players who were not practicing and that's where the punch was thrown. Quinn was on the sideline for Sunday's 14-0 loss to Cincinnati.
''Any rumors or any deals about altercations, I never talk about family business,'' Crennel said. ''I haven't talked about family business since I've been here. So I'm not going to address it at this point. If it happened, it stays in house.''
Asked again to confirm that Smith's status for the Bengals game was not injury related, Crennel said, ''It was a coach's decision.''
Generally, Crennel said he could ''potentially'' fine a player for an altercation after looking ''at all the background.''
Smith, who joined the Browns as a free agent from Cincinnati in March, 2007, did have an issue with an offensive lineman at practice earlier this season. Smith is a chatterbox who starts his verbal assault during warmups and his comments can be scathing.
''Guys get heated at practice,'' Crennel said. ''There were no fights or antyhing at practice. He's a defensive lineman, he's going against an offensive lineman, so sometimes guys get heated. There was no fight involved, there was some discussion involved.''
Crennel acknowledged that Smith's chatter ''could potentially rub a guy the wrong way.''
Asked how often altercations have occurred during this 4-11 season, Crennel said, ''I haven't had many altercations this year. In a family you always have some disagreements and they get handled within the family. I've got one brother and three sisters. When we were growing up we had altercations. That's part of being a family. You deal with them and you move on.''
Crennel said Smith would be available for Sunday's season finale at Pittsburgh.