BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns are being beaten by opponents and beaten down by coach Eric Mangini.
That's Jamal Lewis' take.
Frustrated by another losing season, the veteran running back blasted the Browns' first-year coach Thursday, saying Mangini is pushing his players too hard in practice. But Lewis, who is one of Cleveland's six team captains and intends to retire after the season, hasn't taken his complaints to Mangini.
"Hey, this is his show, it's not mine," Lewis said. "It's his show, it's not my show. Not anybody else around here's show. We're just the crop. You've got to take care of your crop. If you don't take care of your crop, when it comes time to harvest, you're not going to make no money because the crop ain't no good."
Lewis believes Mangini's rugged, lengthy practices of up to three hours have hurt the Browns (1-7), who have been outscored 209-78 and lost four games by at least 21 points. By the time they get to kickoff, Lewis says, the Browns are tired and worn out from all the work.
"There's talent all over this locker room, young and old," Lewis said. "There's talent everywhere, but that talent has got to be able to be ready for Sunday and to be fresh for Sunday and be ready to go out and be efficient on Sunday. You can work all day, you can work seven days a week. But if you're going to work like that, on Sunday you're probably not going to get what you want out of your players."
Earlier, Mangini said he has changed his approach and adjusted his practices this season.
Lewis was asked to comment on the coach's stance.
"Next question," he snapped.
Mangini ran a tough training camp, one with much more contact than any held by former Browns coach Romeo Crennel. Also, the team has practiced in full pads more under Mangini than in the past.
Lewis laughed when asked if he had been in pads more than usual.
"I've been in more pads in half this season probably than I have been in three or four seasons in Baltimore," he said.
So if things are so bad, why doesn't Lewis walk into Mangini's office and tell him things aren't working?
"Because that's not my role," Lewis said. "It hasn't been my role with any coach that I've ever been with. You have to evaluate your situation. You have to look at what's going on. You have to look at your players. You have to figure out why.
"That's not for me to figure out. I do my job. My job is right here, in the backfield to run the football and to block and do what I'm asked to do. My job is not to evaluate and see what's going on here and try to fix it. I'm not a babysitter. I just expect everybody around the board to do their job whether it's upstairs or whether it's down here. That's called accountability."
Lewis' complaints came three days before the 30-year-old will face the Ravens (4-4), his team for seven seasons, for the final time Monday night. Lewis, currently 21st on the NFL's career rushing list with 10,456 yards, publicly announced his plans to retire following the Browns' 30-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Nov. 1.
Although he has one more year under contract, Lewis said he made up his mind before his 10th NFL season started that it would be his last.
Lewis had hoped to go out a winner, but the Browns have regressed in Mangini's first season. Now Lewis wants to move on with his life.
"I'm tired of it," he said. "I'm tired of dealing with the politics. I'm tired of dealing with the whole organizational thing, just how things go. It's just tiresome. When you don't have to deal with it, why deal with it? If I'm going to come out here and work the way I work, then I want results, I want to be able to go out and work. Right now, that's not what's going on.
"I feel like it's just a waste of time for me."
Note: The Browns averted their first television blackout since 1995, announcing Thursday night that the remaining tickets for the game against the Ravens have been purchased by the team, ESPN, Bud Light and WJW-TV, which will air the game. The Browns said the four entities will distribute the tickets to the USO and other local organizations.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press