Pat Shurmur contacting critical Browns reporters

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Shurmur's attitude off-the-field rankles reporters, and his behavior seems indefensible.

So, it seems we're starting on an inexorable march towards an ugly removal of Browns head coach Pat Shurmur. We haven't reached the bye week, and while he may not be fired during the 2012 season, the heavy odds are that he won't be back next year. These are the discussions Browns fans are having in early October.

While the on-field production of his team is lacking, I find his comportment off-the-field, and with the media, indefensible. I started using a tagline with some friends back in August, when he seemed particularly prickly any time he got in front of a live microphone: Bill Belichick charm, minus the results. It was just a quip, but it's become narrative. And the situation appears to have only gotten worse, with word emerging that he's contacting and accosting critical reporters. Tony Grossi provides the latest details on a rocky ride to an inevitable end:

In the last week alone, Shurmur has confronted a former Browns coach for critical comments he made on a local radio show; left an angry voice mail early in the morning for a columnist who chastised him for perceived insensitive comments made about the Cleveland '95 NFL Film documentary; tossed a few F-bombs after a reporter pressed him to go on the record about Trent Richardson's excused absence at a Browns practice; and then over-reacted to legitimate and fair questions about a game-changing play-call in the 41-24 loss to the Giants.

Yikes. Not exactly the reputation or image you'd like for the most public figure on the management side of your franchise. That's a one-week snapshot, but his temperament with the press has been an issue since training camp. This seems like it can only end badly.

I am sure having every minute aspect of your job performance dissected in the public square can be grating, but Shurmur is lucky enough to hold one of 32 jobs in the world. He's a public figure, and his condescension and gruff make it relatively easy to side with the reporters he seems to treat so poorly. And commanding a team that's lost 11 straight games certainly doesn't provide the wiggle room to behave that way.

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