CLEVELAND - A Cleveland Browns player was involved in a motorcycle accident on Interstate 71 on Monday.
Defensive end Marcus Benard, 26, was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center following the crash, according to Brooklyn police. MetroHealth staff said Benard was later taken to the Cleveland Clinic.
Cleveland police dispatch said the crash happened at I-71 northbound and Dennison near West 65th Street. The motorcycle went into the wall, and Cleveland police, the fire department and EMS were on the scene, according to dispatch.
A team spokesperson said Benard was alert and comfortable at the Cleveland Clinic Monday night. He spent Monday night there and tests showed that Benard suffered a broken hand.
A NewsChannel5 viewer said he saw the accident and it appeared that Benard was racing another vehicle. He said the two vehicles nearly caused other accidents and that he called 911 when he saw the motorcycle hit the wall.
Benard was signed as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland in 2009 after playing college football at Jackson State. Last season, Benard fainted in the Browns locker room before practice. He was briefly hospitalized and attributed the his fainting spell to stress caused by the birth of his son.
In a 2006 interview with the Associated Press, then-Seattle Seahawks coach and current Browns president Mike Holmgren said he lectured his players about not driving motorcycles during the season. However, Holmgren has been outspoken about his love of his Harley-Davison.
"I thought it was in their contract that they couldn't take risks like this," asked Browns fan Fran McConkey. "I thought they weren't allowed to ride ATVs, motorcycles things of that nature."
The standard player contract under the recently-expired collective bargaining agreement doesn't mention motorcycles, though a player's individual contract could. In paragraph 3, it prohibits players "from engaging in any activity other than football which may involve significant risk or personal injury."
Benard is not the first NFL player to be injured in a motorcycle accident. In 2005, then-Browns tight end Kellen Winslow was in a motorcycle crash that resulted in a knee injury, which kept him off the field for the entire season. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet during his crash in Pittsburgh in June 2006.
"If I was getting paid what they're getting paid," said Browns fan Tony Kreuter, "I wouldn't even get on a bicycle."
Others like Gary McCollough disagree. "You know what he's human, he can ride a motorcycle if he wants. If it was his fault then he's stupid but it was just an accident, he hit something or somebody got him off the road, so be it," he said.
Browns kick returner Josh Cribbs tweeted his best to his teammate Monday night. "Praying 4my boy Marcus Benard!!!!"