After the Cleveland Browns got blown out by their division rival Cincinatti Bengals on Sunday, they did what most teams do. Packed it up and headed home. About that time, everyone in eastern Ohio was watching the weather crawls on our TV screens and hearing that it was going to be a long night full of high winds, power outages and tornado watches. We were preparing for the storms that had wreaked havoc on the midwest earlier in the day and that were now moving across the Buckeye State. I am willing to bet that no one, myself included, gave a second thought to the Browns travel schedule and how the weather might effect it.
Well, according to the Plain Dealer, they had themselves a doozy of a landing. A landing that had offensive lineman Jason Pinkston thanking God and heading home to hold his baby daughter tight.
“It was terrifying,” Pinkston told cleveland.com. “It was the real thing. The weather was so bad. We were coming in to land and (the pilot) had to go kind of fast to balance it out and we came down and we hit on two wheels. The (left) wing was literally three feet from hitting the ground. We’re actually pretty lucky to be alive right now, to be honest. We really escaped one. We got away with one last night.”
Their flight was a short one. Forty-five minutes from Cincy to Cleveland. But that was all the time mother nature needed to remind these big, tough football players how fragile life is. Pinkston, who said he talked to the plane and asked family members that had passed on to keep them safe, went on to explain the reaction the landing had with his teammates.
“There were a bunch of screams,” said Pinkston. “You could hear everyone screaming on the plane. It was pretty real. I screamed, because I was sitting right over (left) wing. My window was open and I saw the whole thing.”
Defensive lineman Billy Winn echoed Pinkston’s sentiment over the landing, giving his own account.
“Holy cow — I swear the wing was a couple feet from the ground. At the last second it was dead quiet right before the landing. We’re going to land and it got real quiet and I heard this big gust of wind and it went like that (a tilting motion with his hand) and came back and we recovered. We had a great pilot. A fantastic pilot. Bless his heart for getting here safely.”
Not all of the Browns players shared the same fear as Pinkston and Winn, unless they were masking it better than either of the two lineman could. Coach Rob Chudzinski was too busy to notice the bad landing because he was watching film. One player, linebacker Brandon Magee, was too intimidated by the weather in Cincy and opted to ride the bus back with the equipment guys while Jordan Cameron didn’t seem to understand what all the commotion was about either.
“Everyone was freaking out,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that bad. There was some turbulence, but it wasn’t too serious. At least I thought so. Some guys were calling their moms after the flight.”
Perhaps, though, linebacker Paul Kruger explained best how scared his teammates were.
“Billy was shaking like a little girl.”
Well played, Paul.