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Mike Pettine clarifies comments about Russell Wilson

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Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine — perhaps unintentionally — painted himself into a corner this week with some comments he made about Russell Wilson. Now he’s doing his best to work his way out of it.

Pettine, whose Browns face the Seattle Seahawks squad Sunday, said this week that he is hesitant to put Wilson in the top-tier of quarterbacks with Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and the like just yet. His critique essentially was that the Seahawks signal-caller hasn’t quite played himself into that strata of quarterbacking excellence, despite the enormous success he has enjoyed so far in his career.

“Would you put him put there with the guys that can transcend their supporting cast?” Pettine asked. “… No. But he’s certainly played himself into that next tier.”

Wilson has posted a career passer rating of 101.3 and has been to two Super Bowls, winning one. He’s also been on an absolute tear during Seattle’s current four-game winning streak, posting a QB rating of 145.9 while throwing 16 touchdowns to no interceptions. Given the Browns have the formidable task of trying to slow Wilson down, Pettine’s comments definitely drew attention.

But Pettine argued Thursday during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio that people are completely misinterpreting his comments.

“There aren’t too many quarterbacks I have more respect for than Russell Wilson,” he said, via Pro Football Talk. “All the guy does is go out and do everything right and win football games. To sit and take one fragment of what I said … It’s not my job to rank quarterbacks. I know the bottom line for those guys is, and he said it himself, is to win football games and he’s one of the best at that.”

Had Pettine simply said that, he wouldn’t have had to scramble on Thursday to clarify his previous remarks.

(image via CBS Sports)