STEINBACH CALLS VRABEL 'CLASSLESS' by Michael David Smith
Browns guard Eric Steinbach is furious with Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel for a hit Vrabel delivered late in Sunday's game after the Browns spiked the ball to stop the clock.
Although it was garbage time with the Patriots up 34-17, both the Browns and Patriots had their starters on the field, and the Browns were running a hurry-up offense when quarterback Derek Anderson spiked the ball with 11 seconds left. After the spike, Vrabel hit Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, knocking him back, and then knocked Anderson down with a hit to the back of Anderson's leg. For some reason, no flags were thrown, and the Browns were not pleased.
"Classless. You can quote me on that,'' Steinbach said, as reported by Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. ''To dive for a guy's knees like that, to almost take out the quarterback when the game is already over with?''
Whether the game was already over with or not is irrelevant -- the Browns had their first-team offense on the field trying their hardest to score, so there's nothing wrong with the Patriots having their first-team defense on the field trying to keep them from scoring. But it's extremely strange that the officials didn't throw any flags, either on Vrabel or on Steinbach or Browns center Hank Fraley, both of whom hit Vrabel in retaliation. Steinbach said he hopes the league takes action.
''You've got to get fined for that,'' Steinbach said, per the Beacon Journal. ''Maybe he doesn't care about a $5,000 fine, but that's $5,000. I wouldn't want that reputation.''
Steinbach also expressed anger that the Patriots are often referred to as the "model franchise."
"Everyone looks up to them in the NFL like they're the team that does everything right,'' Steinbach said. ''How are you going to have a player like that go and do that at the end of the game? That just doesn't show professionalism. I don't care if the game is won or lost, you don't do a move like that.''