Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 3/13/12

Baltimore Ravens tackle Tony Pashos watches play during a pre-season game against the New Orleans Saints August 26, 2005 in New Orleans. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The statements rolled onto Tony Pashos Twitter page, thank you after thank you, all directed to Cleveland Browns fans who obviously were telling him how much they admired the right tackle and his efforts in a difficult 2011 season. Pashos explained Monday evening why he risked the health and well-being of his ankle by playing the season with a ruptured tendon in his foot. That led to him taking numerous painkillers and needing surgery, which he had last week. His agent posted a photo of his ankle after the surgery, and the picture was not at all pretty. Among Pashos tweets to fans: want 2 tell my kids 2 never give up knowing I practice what I preach. And: this game is bigger than one player, trying to show guys to turn it around, u gotta be all in, selfless. And: did it for the team. Time to get rid of losing culture. Gotta b all in 2 turn it around. Got me in the end. In ways he probably did not expect. In a story first reported by The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Pashos learned that he will be released by the Browns at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. This release comes a week after Pashos underwent surgery. The reason for his release: He failed his physical, Pashos agent Rick Smith told The Plain Dealer. This is the ultimate in NFL football. A guy literally puts his body on the line and plays with one ruptured tendon because another was holding his foot together. He plays by taking painkillers and gutting through things. But the end result is hes on the street with nine months of rehabilitation ahead of him. Pashos had the choice. He was told when he injured the ankle before the season opener that he could have surgery immediately and be out seven to nine months, or play with the pain and undergo surgery after the season. He knew the risks. He played. And he took a lot of criticism because he was struggling while playing injured. His agent told The Plain Dealer the pain medication gave him ulcers that put him in the hospital before the season finale. Pashos missed the Pittsburgh game but tweeted he wanted to leave the emergency room to play against the Steelers. Pashos agent criticized the Browns for releasing Pashos, and the move caught attention around the league, where some players shook their heads at what they viewed as a cold move. Pashos, after all, gave his body for the Browns, and they responded by cutting him a week after he had surgery. But his agent could have advised his client not to play last season, to have the surgery immediately, and Pashos could have made that decision. Instead Pashos played. The situation is a clear reflection of the brutality of life in the NFL, where guys risk being crippled to finish a game or a season. The team did not comment. Their thinking probably had it that Pashos was coming off surgery, and it was time to find a new right tackle. The new collective bargaining agreement gave Pashos 1 million for injury protection. A million dollars is a lot of money, and the previousr year Pashos earned more than 4 million in salary and bonuses to play in just six games. Though Pashos had a lot to say on Twitter, he never criticized the team. This gets to the eternal question: What is worth 1 million? Is 1 million worth potentially ruining your foot, risking staph infection in surgery? Is it worth the painkillers to deal with the constant pain? Is it worth taking on speed rushers on one foot, with a ruptured tendon in the other? Is it worth the rehab and the long-term effects of surgery that Pashos will surely feel years from now? Is it worth fighting through a season? Pashos has his answer. U gotta play for the guys next to u, Pashos tweeted. thats what its all about.
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