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NFL Moves Up Meeting With Brown

January 13, 2000

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Browns offensive tackle Orlando Brown had a chance to explain today why he pushed a referee to the ground last month after being hit in the right eye with a penalty flag.

Brown was to meet with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue at the league offices in New York. The hearing was originally scheduled for after the Feb. 6 Pro Bowl, but league spokesman Greg Aiello said Tagliabue decided to ``move up the timetable.″

Tom Condon, Brown’s agent, is expected to be at the hearing with his client. Tagliabue will be joined by other select member’s of his staff.

No decision will be announced following the meeting, Aiello said.

``It is standard procedure when any player is fined or suspended,″ he said.

Brown was suspended indefinitely on Dec. 22 for shoving referee Jeff Triplette to the ground in Cleveland’s Dec. 19 home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Triplette had accidentally struck Brown in the eye when he threw his penalty flag _ weighted with BBs _ toward the 6-foot-7, 350-pound tackle.

Aiello said Triplette would not be at the hearing. Browns spokesman Alex Martins would not confirm if the team would be represented.

Brown, whose father is blind from glaucoma, said concern for his eyesight caused him to storm back onto the field and shove Triplette. Brown suffered bleeding behind the eye and was hospitalized for six days following the incident.

Brown has already served a two-game suspension _ the Browns were off in Week 17 _ which cost him more than $49,000 in pay. If he was suspended for part of next season, Brown could lose $125,000 per game based on his $2.1 base salary.

The Browns said Brown’s eye is continuing to improve and that he is being treated every other day as an outpatient at the Cleveland Clinic.

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