By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - Fullback Mike Sellers, arrested last week and charged with felony drug abuse, was released Tuesday by the Cleveland Browns "for a combination of reasons."
Sellers was expected to be reinstated by Browns coach Butch Davis, but the team instead decided to cut its ties with the free agent who signed a three-year, $2.4 million contract in February with the Browns.
"We have released Mike Sellers for a combination of reasons relating to his performance and conduct," Browns president Carmen Policy said in a statement. "We decided it is in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns organization, the team and Mike Sellers that this action be taken.
"As part of his release, the Browns have offered to help provide Mike with any guidance, counseling or similar type assistance he might request relative to his personal issues."
Sellers, 26, was arrested late last Monday night along with cornerback Lamar Chapman after being stopped by Cleveland police.
Sellers was suspended for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals along with defensive tackle Gerard Warren and Chapman by Davis, who said Monday he would put Sellers back on the team providing the NFL didn't plan any further penalties against Sellers or Chapman.
Warren was arrested outside a Pittsburgh nightclub on charges of carrying a concealed weapon just hours after the arrests of Sellers and Chapman. Warren has a court hearing Friday in Pittsburgh.
Sellers has not spoken with reporters since his arrest, and declined comment Monday when approached in the locker room at the Browns' training facility.
Kenneth Austin, his agent, was stunned to learn Sellers was released.
"I'm shocked," Austin said. "I don't understand this. Is this the Browns' way of maybe setting an example?
"The Browns are experiencing a bunch of problems right now, and they decided this is where the buck is going to stop," he said. "Mike Sellers is not a bad guy. One turn of events and his career is over in Cleveland? The Browns are looking for someone to be the fall guy."
Sellers pleaded innocent to felony drug abuse charges and to a number of misdemeanors following his arrest last week. Police pulled Sellers' truck over after they spotted him speeding and swerving on the city's west side.
Police found marijuana on the floor of Sellers' vehicle and three marijuana cigars were found in the ashtray. A rolled up dollar bill containing cocaine was also found in the backseat of a patrol car after Sellers and Chapman were taken to jail.
Sellers was convicted of driving while intoxicated while with the Washington Redskins in 2000 and received a suspended 18-month jail sentence.
Sellers was expected to have a more prominent role in Cleveland's offense, but was reduced mostly to a blocking back. He played three seasons with the Redskins, catching 18 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)