By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
NEWARK, N.J.: The Browns placed wide receiver Davone Bess on the reserve/non-football illness list for personal reasons Saturday, meaning he will be out for the last two games of the season.
The team made the announcement on the eve of its road game Sunday against the New York Jets. Coach Rob Chudzinski excused Bess from practice Thursday and Friday for personal reasons. The Browns said they will not provide further comment.
Bess is dealing with a family issue, a league source said Friday. Another source said Saturday that Bess being placed on reserve has nothing to do with any illegal activities. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Chudzinski said Josh Cooper and Greg Little will receive playing time as the slot receiver, which was Bess’ primary role this season.
The Browns thought Bess, 28, was the epitome of reliability when they swapped draft picks with the Miami Dolphins and traded for him in April. The organization further demonstrated its faith by signing him to a three-year, $11.5 million contract extension through 2016, which includes $5.75 million guaranteed.
However, Bess proved to be a disappointment in his sixth NFL season and first with the Browns. He finished with 42 catches for 362 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a league-leading 14 dropped passes through Week 15, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Also, a photo posted on Bess’ Instagram account Friday has raised questions about his off-field behavior. In the photo, Bess is shown 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.
On Friday, a Browns spokesman said the team had no comment or information about the photo, which has been deleted along with Bess’ Instagram account.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.