BEREA, Ohio– The fans weren’t the only ones amped for the start of Cleveland Browns training camp on Thursday. The players were also pumped and ready to hit the field as they kick off the 2019 season, which is filled with so much promise.
The roster is loaded with talent with the additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson. But head coach Freddie Kitchens is focused on bringing out the best in these 91 individual players and getting them to come together as a team, on the field and in the locker room.
“That’s what training camp is all about, seeing guys compete, see who’s going to wilt under pressure, who’s going to wilt under the competitiveness of every day,” Kitchens said. “I want the same guys day in and day out. I don’t want a roller coaster. I want the same guy every day so I know what I’m going to get.”
Quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t phased by the attention this team is generating.
“I just think the hype around it is something that I’m used to. We had high expectations in high school, we had them at Oklahoma and now it’s a bigger platform,” Mayfield said.
OBJ was also excited to be back with his Louisiana State teammate Jarvis Landry.
“He came into the huddle and he looks over, he taps me and he’s like ‘Is it real for you yet?’ I can’t process it right now. We go out there and start making catches and I’m seeing him run routes, and he comes back, ‘It’s got to be real for you now.’ I’m like, I can feel it.”
“I laugh because I feel like a little kid over the excitement I have to be back with this guy who changed my life forever. He’s truly inspired me to be who I am, be the man that I am.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens said practice would be physical and it was. Veteran running back Duke Johnson and rookie linebacker Sione Takitaki got into a little dust-up within the first hour of practice.
The Browns are hosting former Packer and Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels. The free agent is expected to meet with other teams so a decision will not come on Thursday.
Running back Kareem Hunt, who is suspended for the first eight games of the season, did not practice on Thursday with a groin injury. Kitchens said he expects he’ll be back on the field in the next few days.