Pettine talks 'Dawg Pound Special'

ByPat McManamon ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BEREA, Ohio -- One more quirk to the Johnny Manziel-as-a-receiver play the Cleveland Browns tried against the Ravens on Sunday?

"It was called 'Dawg Pound Special,' " coach Mike Pettine said.

The reason, other than the obvious?

"Because we were running it towards the Dawg Pound," Pettine said.

The league made it clear that former-officials-turned-TV-analysts who called the play illegal were correct. According to the rules, unsportsmanlike conduct can be called when a player lines up within five yards of the sideline between the player's designated bench area -- which is between the two 32-yard lines. Manziel lined up barely inside the sideline marker.

The thinking is that it's not sportsmanlike to "hide" a player near his bench, where he could blend in with coaches or teammates on the sideline, which is exactly what Manziel did.

Pettine, though, did not back down in saying he was told what the Browns planned was legal. A 39-yard completion from Brian Hoyer to Manziel was negated by an illegal shift penalty on running back Terrance West.

"It was our understanding -- outside of Terrance West not being set -- that outside of that, we were OK to run it given where we were on the field," Pettine said.

Pettine would not say where he got that information, though he did say he met with referee Bill Leavy pregame.

"I don't like to get into conversations with the officials," he said. "I meet with them pregame. There's a reason the door's closed for those. We just felt comfortable where we were running it, and that's really as far as I'll go with it."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he asked Leavy why the play wasn't flagged and said he was told it was outside the 32-yard-line box.

"So, they thought it was outside the 32-yard line -- turned out that it was not -- it was inside the 32-yard line, so therefore it was illegal," Harbaugh said. "So, in my press conference afterwards, I was just like, 'I thought it was illegal, but I was wrong, it was legal.' Well, it turns out I was right. It was illegal. That's just the way it goes."

Leavy's crew did not penalize the Browns for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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