Scott Sargent over at WaitingForNextYear had a piece on Davone Bess and his recent troubles. Bess, if you are unaware, had left the team to deal with a serious issue back home in Oakland with one of his family members. He was then placed on the Cleveland Browns’ reserve/non-football illness list on December 21st. What’s transpired since has been rather bizarre. And with all the other commotion surrounding the organization, barely anyone is talking about it.
After his exit from the team, Bess had been seen in an Instagram photo with what appeared to be marijuana. More recently, he changed the name of that account to “natteydread” and made the profile picture a face that is half Bob Marley, half of a lion. Another posted photo (captured courtesy of @DawgsByNature) is of Marley on the cover of High Times magazine with the caption, “#give thx. Jah Jah bless the meditation and wake the people to follow their [heart].”
It’s hard to say if Bess is blowing off steam here and just has an affinity for Rastafari culture or if he’s actually immersed himself in the ideology. If he has chosen that way of life, then it will be nearly impossible to continue in the NFL because smoking “herb” is considered a spiritual act in the movement. Rastas often do this when praying and seeking answers from Jah (God). Watch this 1980 Dan Rather report on 60 Minutes for a more encompassing look. Perhaps this is temporary though and Bess is just seeking insight during this difficult time in his life?
Of course, it’s all been very odd. It’s almost certain that Bess won’t be back with the Cleveland Browns, but will he be back in the NFL (like Ricky Williams)? This is the veteran leadership at the wide receiver position, after all, that was brought in by the front office. Bess was supposed to be a positive influence on the young guys, specifically Josh Gordon given his circumstances. It can really only be viewed as a failure at this point.
“The player who was brought in to mentor the Browns’ young receivers, the guy who was given a multi-year contract extension and was, per Joe Banner, to be included in any grades given for their efforts during the 2013 NFL Draft, had transformed into what could best be described as a new age Bob Marley.” – WFNY
Are we able to put a grade on the draft already? Probably not, but it doesn’t look good. The Browns have a project OLB in Barkevious Mingo, a third round CB who so clearly looked like a rookie in Leon McFadden, and a sixth round S in Jamoris Slaughter who didn’t make the 53-man roster, but was later added to the practice squad (perhaps he’ll take over for T.J. Ward when they don’t sign him). Admittedly, the Browns didn’t have a second round pick because of the Josh Gordon supplemental selection, but we can’t really assign that to this front office, can we?
We can with Bess, however. And coupled with the other starting free agents the Browns brought in, we may have to call parents and let them know their children are in danger of failing if grades aren’t brought up. Most people understand that you sometimes have to overpay for a free agent. We did that with Paul Kruger. But have his contributions warranted the contract? Jabaal Sheard looked significantly better, and he’s an UFA next year. Here’s hoping Banner pays for that veteran. Moreover, the Browns signed a player with a known heart condition. Fortunately, Desmond Bryant looked pretty good until undergoing surgery that ended his season.
As far as Bess is concerned, Football Outsiders rated Bess the second worst wide receiver in the league (behind Greg Little) with a DYAR of -134. That could be contributed to the poor quarterback play though.
“What he provided (or didn’t provide) to Cleveland in the way of on-field production can best be categorized as a sunk cost at this stage. If the Browns are maintaining contact with the receiver throughout these seemingly unusual times, it certainly isn’t being reported. There is no denying that Bess came up through hard times, but all indications were that he had triumphed over the tribulations; he used his hard work and desire to make it big and take care of those close to him – it’s a storybook, but one that seems to have several crazy chapters that came out of left field.” – WFNY
Here’s hoping Bess can close those chapters and find the peace he’s seeking. In the meantime, maybe it was a good thing Rob Chudzinksi didn’t listen to Joe Banner and cut Greg Little to send a message. We don’t have much else on the roster, and David Nelson was too busy catching multiple touchdowns against us. It’s no wonder Jimmy Haslam was reportedly furious after that Jets game. But who is really to blame for that?
What do you think of Davone Bess’ absence from the team? Please let us know in the comments section.