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Hue Jackson: Timing of Whitner release 'unfortunate'

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The Cleveland Browns released veteran safety Donte Whitner last weekend, prompting criticism both from Whitner and Karlos Dansby on the timing of the move.

Whitner lamented on Twitter that the late release date didn't allow him fair entry into the free-agent market. Dansby, released by Cleveland weeks earlier, said the timing of Whitner's exit "wasn't cool."

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On Wednesday, new Browns coach Hue Jackson addressed the criticism.

"I know it was a hard situation," the coach said. "But I think we all know in the National Football League decisions are made when it's time to make those decisions, and it's unfortunate that it happened when it did. But at the same time, I think you guys know there's never any perfect timing to make those choices except for when you make them.

"I know it's unfortunate it happened that way," Jackson went on. "But I think we all recognize and know that those things do happen. We made the decision when it was time for us to make the decision. Obviously that decision wasn't made before, because if it was, we would have made that decision earlier. So I get it and I know the feeling in that situation. But trust me, we went through this 1,000 times to get to that conclusion, so it wasn't like it was just a knee-jerk reaction."

Dansby took advantage of the more customary timing of his release, signing a free-agent deal with the Bengals last week. Whitner, 30, has yet to be publicly connected to a team, but should be able to find a work after a solid two-year run in Cleveland.

Whitner's gripe is understandable, though: The timing of the move likely cost him destination options and -- quite possibly -- some money.

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