BEREA, Ohio– Barkevious Mingo is bigger than ever. Now, he’s hoping that translates to a better season on the playing field.
The Cleveland Browns linebacker added more than 20 pounds of muscle in the off season to get ready for this year.
“I’m at a good weight. I’m feeling great,” Mingo said before practice on Tuesday.
“When you put weight on, you have to learn to use it and kind of still use the skills that you have. Like for him, obviously, speed, athleticism so he kind of has to learn how to play with that weight. Whether it’s five pounds or 25 pounds, he’s kind of learning what is most comfortable,” said outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik
Back in defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheme, the Browns are looking at Mingo as a pass rusher again. He said he believes the added weight will help him be more physical and stronger at the point of attack.
“I feel good in any position that they put me in,” Mingo said. “The way this defense is built guys move around… You never know where guys are going to line up and where they’re coming from.”
Mingo praised head coach Hue Jackson’s staffing decisions, saying it’s better from top to bottom. That includes trainers and the cafeteria workers.
“We’ve got a brand-new year. We got a brand-new staff in here, a staff that I feel that is putting everything in the right direction.”
Mingo is a free agent after this year. The team did not pick up his fifth-year contract option, which means he’s playing for a deal next year.
During the brief full-contact portion of Monday’s practice, Mingo wasn’t on the field with the starters.
“His role right now is the same as the other outside linebackers. That is know what the significance of training camp is. You got to play hard, you got to hit, you got to tackle,” Slowik said. “It’s not so much where he’s out there, who’s he’s out there with.”
“I think Mingo brings a very unique skill set that not many outside linebackers have. He can run, he is athletic and he has a great get off. We’re just trying to help him figure out where he feels the best, most comfortable and get the best out of those skills,” Slowik said.