The Browns waived cornerback Dimitri Patterson on Monday, just nine months after he re-signed with the team for three years and about $16 million, including $6 million guaranteed.
Patterson, who emerged last season as the team’s top nickel corner, did not immediately respond to an email from the Beacon Journal seeking comment about his release. Patterson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, replied to an email 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. He didn’t do himself any favors in the eyes of coach Pat Shurmur by missing that much time, and it became obvious a couple of weeks ago when Patterson 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 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. He 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. He started four games while cornerback Joe Haden served a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
After spending two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Patterson joined the Browns by signing a one-year deal on Aug. 3, 2011. He had 26 tackles and 12 passes defensed in 14 games last season.
With Patterson gone, Buster Skrine is expected to serve as the full-time nickel corner when the Browns (5-9) visit the Denver Broncos (11-3) on Sunday. The Browns have yet to announce a corresponding roster move to fill the vacancy created by Patterson’s departure.
Backup not considered
Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden struggled to find a rhythm and threw two interceptions in the third quarter that led to touchdowns for the Redskins (8-6). Shurmur, though, expressed faith in Weeden.
When asked if he’s still confident that Weeden is the right guy long term, Shurmur said, “Yeah, I’m looking forward to him having a much better game this week against Denver. I think that’s where the focus needs to be.”
Shurmur said he did not consider benching Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, during his rough outing against the Redskins.
“I’m not saying you never go to your backup quarterback,” Shurmur said. “But I didn’t consider it [Sunday].”
Shurmur rejected the idea that Weeden, 29, is too old to develop.
“No, I don’t think that’s the case,” Shurmur said. “I think of him as a rookie, and I think he’ll be much better in his second year.”
Shurmur talked to rookie running back Trent Richardson about his criticism of the play calling after the Browns’ loss to the Redskins. In his postgame interview Sunday, Richardson said the offense strayed from the game plan in the second half. Richardson, the third overall pick, had only two carries for zero yards after halftime and finished with 11 carries for 28 yards and two touchdowns.
“I asked him what he meant by what he said,” Shurmur said. “I said it’s very important that when we’re all in a state of being disappointed that we lost that we keep our focus on, No. 1, regrouping and getting ready to play the next game.”
Richardson said it was “shocking” that he had only two carries in the final two quarters.
“They were doing a pretty good job of defending the run on first down, so we tried to throw the football on first down,” Shurmur explained. “Now when you don’t have success throwing the ball on first down, then you get a little bit behind. And then part of the problem is we only had  plays on offense, which it doesn’t allow you to do all the things you want to do when you have that few plays.
“But we would like to be able to run the football consistently throughout on first, second and third down and involve him as a runner running the football. But at some point there in the game, the score stretched out a little bit. We were having success throwing the ball a little bit and then we hurt ourselves with interceptions.”
Shurmur said he had no injury updates on strong safety T.J. Ward (knee) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (groin). … Shurmur is confident motivation won’t be a problem in the final two games of the season for players whose playoff hopes have been dashed and whose three-game winning streak has been snapped. “I don’t have a problem with that because we’ve got a locker room full of guys that understand how important it is to go out and play, play hard, play meaningful and try to do what we can to get a win,” Shurmur said.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com.browns.abj.