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Infection raises questions about facility



Published: Sat, October 28, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



LeCharles Bentley is the fifth player in three years to have a staph problem.

BEREA (AP) -- Browns center LeCharles Bentley was recently hospitalized following season-ending knee surgery with a staph infection, raising concerns of contamination at Cleveland's training facility.

Bentley's infection is the fifth known case of staph for a Browns player in the past three years, a disturbing pattern general manager Phil Savage described as "a staph infection outbreak."

Since 2003, linebacker Ben Taylor, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, safety Brian Russell and tight end Kellen Winslow had various strains of staph, a bacteria that enters the body through the skin and can cause larger health problems.

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"There's something going on around here," said Winslow, who contracted staph following knee surgery after a motorcycle accident last year. "A lot of people have had it. They need to do something."

Bentley, a former Pro Bowler and the Browns' prized free agent signing last off-season, tore his patellar tendon during the club's first 11-on-11 play of training camp on July 27 and had surgery the following day.

Savage said Bentley came down with the infection after the operation and had the infection cleaned out Aug. 28.

Savage would only say Bentley was hospitalized for "a significant amount of time."

Savage said Bentley's infection sent them to the Cleveland Clinic, the club's longtime health care provider and current sponsor, for answers.

"We asked them to review our building, our practices, their facilities, a full review," he said.

"They have since come back to us and informed us that their conclusion is that any of the cases we've had have been unrelated and the Browns have done everything possible to prevent any kind of infections in our locker room, on the field, in the indoor [facility], all those things."

People can get staph from contaminated objects, and the infection can be spread by skin-to-skin contact.

The Browns aren't the first NFL team to have issues related to staph, which has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

Earlier this year, the Washington Redskins hired a company to treat their practice facility in Ashburn, Va., with a spray that controls the growth of bacteria and mold.

Before the spraying to combat MRSA -- a potent form of staph -- the team had new carpeting installed and painted its locker room, weight room and training room.




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