BEREA, Ohio — Last week was a difficult one for Browns rookie defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey. The fourth-round pick was dismissed from practice for disciplinary reasons Friday leading into the game against the New York Jets.
Winfrey was away from the facilities and later made inactive for Sunday's game. The team has chosen to keep the reason behind the discipline in-house, but defensive end Myles Garrett said last week that Winfrey's actions were "very apparent."
"We all have to step up and say something. But sometimes silence speaks louder than words. We’ve used our voice a couple of times, and at the end of the day he’s got to learn how to be a pro," Garrett said on Friday. "It was pretty common knowledge and it was easy to see. So it wasn’t like we had to bring it to [head coach Kevin Stefanski's] attention. His actions were very apparent," Garrett said.
On Tuesday during practice preparing for the Thursday night game against the Steelers, Winfrey was back in the locker room and later back at practice, happy to be back and understanding of the team's action.
"Yeah, I’m back with the team," Winfrey said. "I would say every rookie coming into the organization learns things that they need to do and learns things that they shouldn’t do. I feel like people of my age or people that are older than me or in my same age bracket, we’re all going through the same struggles of learning where you need to be and how you need to be there. I would say that becoming a pro is something every rookie learns how to do."
A rookie learning lesson isn't something that always comes with discipline and dismissal from the facility, but despite the severity of his punishment, Winfrey wasn't deterred by the situation.
"I’m still approaching practice and everything balls to the wall, still being the player that I was meant out to be. This doesn’t change anything, doesn’t change my focus, doesn’t change how I feel about the organization, the team or any of that," he said.
Winfrey called the situation a "one-time thing" and while he isn't proud of being disciplined—he is grateful for the team's swift response.
"I would say it’s tough, but it just let me know that this game could be taken away from you at any point in time. So just take it seriously 24/7 and just count your blessings, just be able to realize that you’re in a blessed position and take it seriously," Winfrey said. "Definitely hungrier to prove everything I said was true and still remains true. I wouldn't say it changed my hunger, though, because I've always been a hungry football player, so this wouldn't make me over-the-top want it more. I still want it the same way I wanted it before."
And for that reason, Winfrey hopes that it will make him a stronger and more focused player, teammate, and person.
"I just feel like it was something that I needed to mature. I feel like I wouldn't be the player that I'm going to be now if it had not happened, so I'm glad that it happened. Everything happens for a reason in my eyes." Winfrey said.
With the discipline out of the way, Winfrey is back on track to be active for Thursday night's prime-time game against the Steelers, Stefanski said.
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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