Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was critical of Jadeveon Clowney throwing Chase Claypool's shoe during Monday's 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Stefanski said it was "not smart" of Clowney to draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“You know, obviously, he didn't feel like he was throwing it away or whatever. But those are tough penalties in those situations,” Stefanski added.
The play occurred during Pittsburgh's first drive of the second quarter with the game scoreless. Claypool caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger for three yards on 3rd-and-10 that would have brought up fourth down.
Instead, Clowney had Claypool's shoe in his hand after making the tackle and tossed it down the field. The officials flagged him for a penalty that kept the drive alive. The Steelers scored three plays later on Roethlisberger's five-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson.
Monday night was another frustrating chapter in what has been a disappointing season for the Browns.
Cleveland has lost three straight and eight of its last 12 games overall since a 3-1 start. The team was officially eliminated from playoff contention after the defeat. It hosts AFC North champion Cincinnati on Sunday.
Expectations were high for the Browns coming into the season. They made the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 2020 and defeated the Steelers in the AFC Wild Card Round.
Clowney signed a one-year deal with Cleveland as a free agent to provide a secondary edge-rusher along with Myles Garrett. He's been solid with 17 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 13 starts.
The Browns will have to decide what direction they want to take this offseason in building for 2022. Clowney, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014, can become an unrestricted free agent for the third consecutive year.