After one troubled season with the Cleveland Browns, Davone Bess finds himself on the free agent market today as the team announced they have released the wide receiver. Bess was acquired by the Browns during last year's NFL Draft in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, sending their fourth- and fifth-round selections to South Florida for the recevier and Miami's fourth- and seventh-round picks.
Bess originally signed as an undrafted free agent with Miami out of the University of Hawaii in 2008. He earned a spot on the team's 53-man roster, working as the primary punt returner for the Dolphins as well as a reserve wide receiver. Over five years with Miami, Bess worked his way into one of the top slot receivers in the league and a fan favorite. He tallied 321 receptions for 3,447 yards and 12 touchdowns with the South Florida franchise, appearing in 77 games with 33 starts. In his one season with the Browns, Bess played just 14 games, with three starts, and was placed on injured reserve with "family matters" for the last two contests. He caught a career-low 42 passes for a career-low 362 yards. His 8.6 yards per reception average was nearly two yards lower than any year in Miami. Despite being a sure-handed receiver with Miami, Bess led the league in drops last season with Cleveland, recording nine drops in 14 games, despite not being an every down player.
It was not his on-field performance, however, that led to the Browns releasing Bess despite his fully guaranteed $3 million salary this year. Since his being placed on injured reserve on December 21, Bess has had multiple instances of Twitter and Instagram posts that appear to show him smoking or possessing marijuana. He also posted a nude picture of himself on his Twitter account. All of the pictures have since been deleted.
In January, Bess was arrested at the Fort Lauderdale airport for assaulting an officer. The police report showed Bess was acting "irrationally, dancing, signing with pants repeatedly falling down." When an officer approached Bess to ensure he was alright, Bess grabbed a nearby cup of coffee and poured it on the officer. He then "took a fighting stance." The officer reportedly struck Bess in the leg with his baton, which led to Bess removing his shirt and returning to his "fighting stance." When additional officers arrived, Bess surrendered.
Prior to the trade to the Browns, Bess had been treated for mental health issues.
Also included in the announcement of Bess' release, the Browns stated that they had released former Dolphins practice squad wide receiver Brian Tyms.