Austin Hooper: Past Browns tight ends sold him on Cleveland


BEREA, Ohio (WJW)– It was a busy Tuesday for the Browns.

In the second week of the NFL calendar year, the team announced the signings of three players, while two of the new mainstays of the team chatted with reporters on conference calls.

Quarterback Case Keenum officially signed his three-year, $18 million deal. He is being brought to Cleveland to help Baker Mayfeld regain his rookie form. Keenum, a seasoned pro, has started and backed up others in his career.

“He understands as a backup how it’s your job to support the starter and be ready to play in a moments notice. Bottom line is we’re adding a really smart, tough football player in that room,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said.

Keenum, in a release, said Mayfield reached out to him when the news broke last week, and he is ready to come in and work with Mayfield and his teammates.

Two others were officially signed. Return man JoJo Natson, a former Akron Zip is coming aboard, and so is cornerback Donovan Olumba.

Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper said it was a pair of former Cleveland tight ends that helped convince him to sign with the Browns. Gary Barnidge, and Jordan Cameron joined Hooper on a football mission to Hungary to expose the folks in that country to the American style of football. The former tight ends were singing the praises of the city and the fans.  

Hooper, the former Falcon, said the team has a great deal of talent on the offensive side of the ball and said he can’t wait to line up in two tight end alignments with David Njoku. 

Tackle Jack Conklin told reporters he believes the Browns roster is, “Up there with the best.”

Conklin, who comes over from the Titans, is known as an excellent blocker (witness Derrick Henry winning the rushing title). He should help stabilize the line and help Mayfield keep his uniform clean.

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