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Browns could face fine, loss of draft pick over Textgate

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GM Ray Farmer could also be suspended for his role in sending the improper text messages.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns and general manager Ray Farmer are likely to be disciplined by the NFL for allegedly sending illegal text messages from the press box to the sideline during games this season, per a report from Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot on Wednesday. Farmer faces a possible suspension, while the team could be fined and/or lose draft picks.

The league has been investigating the issue for the past month after Cabot first reported that high-ranking members of the Browns' organization were texting play calls to the field. The NFL is expected to formally issue the sanctions in the next few weeks.

Sources told Cabot that Farmer was the front office personnel who sent the text messages to the sidelines. Cabot added that the in-game messages were one of the reasons that former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan eventually decided to part ways with the team. Shanahan was recently named the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.

League regulations forbid the use of any electronic device, including cellphones and computers, in the coaches' booth and on the sidelines starting 90 minutes before kickoff through the end of the game. Team personnel are permitted to use electronic devices during a game to communicate player injury information, but cannot mention anything related to game strategy.

The fallout from this investigation continues a turbulent week for the Browns. It was revealed on Monday that first-round pick Johnny Manziel reportedly checked himself into a rehab facility last week, and All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon was suspended by the NFL on Tuesday for at least one year after another violation of the league's substance abuse policy.