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In any business, you generally want to avoid throwing your own co-workers under the bus. That avoidance didn’t happen here.

On Friday, ESPN’s Tony Grossi briefly had a column go up on ESPN.com discussing the Cleveland Browns and the upcoming NFL Draft. In the article, Grossi seems to accuse ESPN co-worker and NFL analyst Bill Barnwell of working as a consultant with the Browns.

Here’s what Grossi said in his now deleted ESPN column. (can still be viewed here, H/T to Deadspin)

It’s easy, right? Use the No. 1 pick on pass rusher Myles Garrett and then go to work on the tougher challenges.

At least it seemed simple, until Bill Barnwell struck again.

His biography on the [SLOAN] Website includes the tidbit that Barnwell “has served as a quantitative consultant to both MLB and NFL teams.” Although there is no mention that Barnwell has served as a consultant to the Browns, the circumstantial evidence is that he has, or does.

Grossi cites the Brock Osweiler trade as evidence that Barnwell may be working with the Browns. Barnwell, in a column for ESPN in December, suggested that the Browns take on Osweiler in a trade since they had the salary room to do so. Although the Browns eventually didn’t execute the same trade as Barnwell suggested, they still did the move with the same concepts that Barnwell laid out.

Grossi is also blaming Barnwell for the talk of the Browns potentially trading the No. 1 pick. There seems to be no concrete evidence that the Browns are planning the move the pick, but Grossi thinks Barnwell is at fault for the speculation on the subject.

This is an extremely odd situation. There isn’t much proof that Barnwell is actually doing anything wrong here, so it’s even more odd that this kind of accusation would come from someone under the same company. Also, of course it was the Browns involved out of all NFL teams.

All we know is that ESPN’s next company get-together just got really awkward.

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