CLEVELAND — Isaiah Crowell couldn't help but laugh when a reporter recounted exactly how the Jets running back celebrated a touchdown in the second quarter of Thursday night's loss to the Browns.
But coach Todd Bowles was most certainly not amused.
"It was inexcusable," said Bowles, who was clearly irked after the Jets lost 21-17 at FristEnergy Stadium. "We talked about it and it will never happen again."
Crowell scored a touchdown to give the Jets a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter. He celebrated by using the football to wipe his rear end. Then he threw the ball into the stands. The crude celebration resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
It seemed as if Crowell might have been sending a message to his former team, or the fans in Cleveland; he played the first four seasons of his career here before signing with the Jets as a free agent. But Crowell said that wasn't the case.
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"I mean, it was just passion," said Crowell, who had 16 carries for 34 yards and two touchdowns. "I just got to control myself. I don’t think it had anything to do with the stadium I was at. I just feel like it happened spur of the moment. … It was just passion, it wasn’t really a message toward anybody. "
But Bowles' message to Crowell after the game was direct and unmistakable.
"He just said to me, I can’t be selfish," said Crowell. "I can’t do my teammates like that. So I understand exactly what he was saying and I agree."
On the surface, the celebration, while juvenile and tasteless, seems harmless enough. And yes, on a sophomoric level, it was funny — although Crowell will almost certainly face a fine from the league.
But in the larger context of the game, and this Jets season, it's not so amusing.
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