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Former Browns safety Whitehead 'deeply regretful' for rant

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

By TOM WITHERS

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) Safety Jermaine Whitehead apologized Tuesday for his alarming postgame social media rant, a tirade that led to his release by the Browns.

Whitehead was cut Monday after he posted several threatening and profane messages on Twitter following Cleveland's 24-19 loss in Denver on Sunday.

The 26-year-old starter directed one of his messages at a former NFL player who had questioned his tackling. Whitehead used a derogatory racial term toward the player, and in another response to a fan said "Imma kill you."

On his Instagram page, Whitehead expressed remorse.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for my actions following our game with Denver," he wrote. "That was totally out of character for me. I do not justify my actions, but was extremely frustrated with the way I had played and our team losing because of it. I was playing with a broken hand, but that is no excuse for my actions, and I am deeply regretful.

"I want to personally apologize to anyone who I offended, especially those who I was responsive to on Twitter. My choice of words did not reflect who I am, but only what I was feeling. Also, my sincerest apologies to my teammates, coaches, the Browns organization and most of all, the fans and kids that motivate me to even pursue this dream. Again I am deeply sorry for my unacceptable behavior, and I wish the Browns the best of luck in the future. I love you!"

During his news conference Monday, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens reiterated the team's postgame statement that called Whitehead's posts "totally unacceptable and highly inappropriate."

Whitehead started the Browns' first eight games, and he entered Sunday's game leading the team's secondary in tackles. The Browns signed him one year ago after he was released by Green Bay. The Packers cut him for punching a New England lineman in a game.

Browns safety Morgan Burnett was also Whitehead's teammate with Green Bay. He voiced concern for his well-being.

"I just feel like it was a situation where his emotions got the best of him," Burnett said, standing a few feet from Whitehead's cleaned-out locker. "We're going to miss him but I think for me personally because I played with him in Green Bay, I take it past football and it's just something where I just want to pray for him. Wish him the best and get the help that he needs and pray that he gets back on his feet.

"But as a team, just outside of football, just as a bond of brothers, we're going to miss him."

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Updated November 5, 2019

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