Christian Kirksey Jersey

LB Christian Kirksey has been named the Cleveland Browns 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide. Recognized among the NFL’s best players for his performance on the field and commitment to the community.

“Since Christian was drafted in 2014, he has been an incredible influence and provided a positive energy for our team and building, as well as throughout the entire Cleveland community,” said Dee Haslam, who personally informed Kirksey he was selected for the honor earlier this week. “It is special to see how he has grown on and off the field during his time with the Browns as he has clearly become an exceptional role model for his teammates, our city and most importantly, the youth he inspires.”

“High character and putting others before yourself are attributes we look for in the individuals that make up the Cleveland Browns,” said General Manager John Dorsey. “There is no man that has played in this league that exemplifies those qualities more than Walter Payton, and Christian should be very proud of the work he does off the field that makes him so deserving of this most prestigious honor.”

“I always just want to be a humble guy and try to put other people before myself,” said Kirksey after learning he was selected to represent the team. “I always said that if I ever got to the spotlight that I do now, I always wanted to give back. I always just wanted to be a responsible guy and let people know that it is not about me – it is about everybody else. I am honored that I can be a part of the Cleveland Browns organization and be nominated for this award. I am just happy. I am almost kind of at a loss for words. I am just excited.

“The way that I was raised by my parents inspires me to give back,” Kirksey continued. “My late father, just seeing how he treated people and the way that he went about his life, I always just wanted to mimic him and go down the same path that he went down. Coming here to Cleveland – I was drafted here, and it was an honor to be drafted here –I am always loyal to the people that are loyal to me. I want to make sure that I am a good public figure in the community and just be a role model. A lot of kids need somebody to look up to and need somebody that is a positive, and I want to be that influential guy. I am just honored to do that.

“For me, I am looking at it as that I am more than just a football player. The Haslams see that it is about more than just football, and I am honored that they sat down, talked with me and appreciate everything that I have done for the organization and for the city. It just really speaks volumes to the character that they have to really come reach out to me and allow me to be nominated for this award. It shows that they care, and it shows that I care. That is what the Cleveland Browns organization is about.”

Dee and Jimmy Haslam, as well as Executive Vice President J.W. Johnson, will formally present the award to Kirksey prior to Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers to congratulate and thank him for his commitment to the Browns, the City of Cleveland and positively impacting lives of others.

Originally drafted by the Browns in the third round (71st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, Kirksey has appeared in 71 games with 52 starts, amassing 452 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, 17 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Kirksey, who was named a team captain in 2018, ranked among the team’s leaders in tackles and recorded his first two career interceptions this season prior to sustaining a hamstring injury in Week 10 that landed him on injured reserve.

Last season, Kirksey posted career highs in tackles (138), sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (two) and was one of only three NFL players to participate in all of his team’s defensive snaps that year, along with teammate LB Joe Schobert. His 281 tackles recorded during the 2016-17 seasons were also the second-most tackles in the league during that span, per press box totals.

One of Kirksey’s mantras is “What is your Why?” a message that has empowered him to lead teammates on and off the field, challenging them to find what their motivation was to be their best. He has also used this message to inspire kids to be driven, create goals and find reasons that are important to them as it relates to working hard, helping others and being a role model.

Giving back to youth and social equality initiatives are important core focuses for Kirksey when volunteering his time in the community each year. With the launch of his Kirkoland Foundation this past spring, he strives to provide opportunities for local kids in need, most recently, his local bowling event to support kids from a local school, bringing kids to Cedar Point or sporting events in the offseason. He has also dedicated numerous hours visiting neighborhoods in Cleveland and most recently met kids at a local Rec Center alongside of safety forces who work in the neighborhoods to show unity.

In addition to his individual efforts and programs that benefit the communities of Cleveland and his original hometown of St. Louis, Kirksey regularly supports Browns Give Back’s dedication to education, youth football and volunteering through the First and Ten movement. Also, he has been one of the primary leaders and voices in players’ and the team’s commitment to social justice initiatives in Northeast Ohio, including participation in the club’s Neighborhood Unity and Equality Summits, ride-alongs with Cleveland Division of Police and conversations and visits to Towards Employment, a local organization that serves individuals who are on their path to reentry following incarceration.

New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Each Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee will also receive two Super Bowl LIII tickets to donate to a charity or community leader.

In 2018, $500,000 will be donated in the name of the league-wide winner – $250,000 to the charity of his choice and $250,000 to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program. The additional 31 nominees will also receive donations of $50,000 in their name to both the charity of their selection and to expand Character Playbook. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee’s last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide.

Dee and Jimmy Haslam, as well as Executive Vice President J.W. Johnson, will formally present the award to Kirksey prior to Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers to congratulate and thank him for his commitment to the Browns, the City of Cleveland and positively impacting lives of others.

Originally drafted by the Browns in the third round (71st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, Kirksey has appeared in 71 games with 52 starts, amassing 452 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, 17 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Kirksey, who was named a team captain in 2018, ranked among the team’s leaders in tackles and recorded his first two career interceptions this season prior to sustaining a hamstring injury in Week 10 that landed him on injured reserve.

Last season, Kirksey posted career highs in tackles (138), sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (two) and was one of only three NFL players to participate in all of his team’s defensive snaps that year, along with teammate LB Joe Schobert. His 281 tackles recorded during the 2016-17 seasons were also the second-most tackles in the league during that span, per press box totals.

One of Kirksey’s mantras is “What is your Why?” a message that has empowered him to lead teammates on and off the field, challenging them to find what their motivation was to be their best. He has also used this message to inspire kids to be driven, create goals and find reasons that are important to them as it relates to working hard, helping others and being a role model.

Giving back to youth and social equality initiatives are important core focuses for Kirksey when volunteering his time in the community each year. With the launch of his Kirkoland Foundation this past spring, he strives to provide opportunities for local kids in need, most recently, his local bowling event to support kids from a local school, bringing kids to Cedar Point or sporting events in the offseason. He has also dedicated numerous hours visiting neighborhoods in Cleveland and most recently met kids at a local Rec Center alongside of safety forces who work in the neighborhoods to show unity.

In addition to his individual efforts and programs that benefit the communities of Cleveland and his original hometown of St. Louis, Kirksey regularly supports Browns Give Back’s dedication to education, youth football and volunteering through the First and Ten movement. Also, he has been one of the primary leaders and voices in players’ and the team’s commitment to social justice initiatives in Northeast Ohio, including participation in the club’s Neighborhood Unity and Equality Summits, ride-alongs with Cleveland Division of Police and conversations and visits to Towards Employment, a local organization that serves individuals who are on their path to reentry following incarceration.

New this year, all 32 team winners will be highlighted as finalists and recognized for their important work during the weekend leading up to Super Bowl LIII. The 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, on CBS. NFL Honors will be at Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Each Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee will also receive two Super Bowl LIII tickets to donate to a charity or community leader.

In 2018, $500,000 will be donated in the name of the league-wide winner – $250,000 to the charity of his choice and $250,000 to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program. The additional 31 nominees will also receive donations of $50,000 in their name to both the charity of their selection and to expand Character Playbook. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, Nationwide and United Way Worldwide.

Fans are encouraged to participate in Nationwide’s 4th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote by using #WPMOYChallenge on Twitter with their favorite nominee’s last name somewhere in the post between December 6 and January 13. The player whose unique hashtag is used the most will receive a $25,000 contribution to their charity of choice, courtesy of Nationwide.

Joel Bitonio Jersey

He might not yet be well recognized because of the position he plays, but Cleveland Browns left guard Joel Bitonio has quietly been as consistent and as positively impactful as any rookie in the National Football League through the first five weeks of the 2014 season.

Slated to be the team’s starting left guard since the first day of offseason workouts, the second-round pick from Nevada has played every snap at the position through the Browns’ first four games.

Most rookies expected to make the transition from playing left tackle in the Mountain West Conference to playing inside in the NFL would struggle, at least initially, in their first professional season.

Seemingly unfazed by the challenge, Bitonio has arguably been the Browns’ best offensive lineman so far this year—and that’s saying something, as the No. 35 overall pick is sandwiched between two Pro Bowlers, left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack.

You won’t see Bitonio’s name in the box score, and you might not notice him if you’re casually watching a Browns game. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll see that Cleveland appears to have come away with one of the steals of the 2014 draft class.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Somebody has to tell the new Browns about the old Browns, right? Joel Bitonio joined the Browns in 2014, and only he and Christian Kirksey have put in five straight seasons as part of this franchise. It’s not just that longevity that lands Bitonio at No. 9 on our list of the moves that transformed the Browns — he also made his first Pro Bowl last season.

After botching the first two picks in 2014, trading down and then back up to select Justin Gilbert at No. 8 and then grabbing Johnny Manziel at No. 22, the Browns settled down and took Bitonio as a college tackle they expected to move to guard. One piece in The Plain Dealer read “after their two picks in the first round, perhaps the most important player the Browns drafted is running back Terrance West,” as West was picked late in the third round, after Bitonio and Christian Kirksey.What are you gonna do? It’s hard for people to love guards on draft day. But Bitonio was heralded as a three-year starter and academic all-conference pick in college. He said the right things on draft day about learning from Joe Thomas.We discussed Bitonio some in our No. 13 transformation, as the Browns spent money on the interior of their offensive line before the 2017 season. They signed center JC Tretter and guard Kevin Zeitler then, and extended Bitonio. But Bitonio also deserves his own decision as the one recent Brown the team has been sure it wanted to keep around.

He’s entering year three of a six-year extension, worth nearly $52 million, as a player who wants to stay and a player the Browns want to keep. A starter since day one, he made his first Pro Bowl last season, after the Browns tried him at left tackle in the preseason as a potential solution to replacing Thomas.

Bitonio wasn’t all that enthused about that, and the decision was made to move him back to guard, where he has been one of the 10 best players in the league at his position. He missed a total of 17 games due to injury in 2015 and 2016 but has started all 32 the last two years. He’s taken the mantel as one of the team spokesmen since Thomas’ retirement, and the Browns formed an improved line around him. His annual base salary of $8.5 million ranks 13th among guards, a contract that should work for both the team and the player.

At age 27, he’s a sold five-year veteran who was ranked as the No. 82 player by Pro Football Focus after last season, which was third on the Browns behind Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield. He’s just an accomplished player who has been in Cleveland for a rather lengthy period of time. That hasn’t been the norm lately.
None really. From that 2014 second round, five players in addition to Bitonio have reached the Pro Bowl: Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (pick No. 34), Oakland quarterback Derek Carr (No. 36), Green Bay receiver Davante Adams (No. 53), Jacksonville receiver Allen Robinson (No. 61) and Jarvis Landry, who was picked by Miami at No. 63 before landing with the Browns.

The Brown will take Bitonio and the idea of settling one position on the offensive line for a decade.

Three Ray Farmer selections stuck around into this era of the Browns — Duke Johnson, Christian Kirksey and Bitonio. When it came to true survivors of 1-31, only they made it through to the other side as meaningful parts of the roster. It’s Bitonio who will continue to have the greatest influence and will stand as the greatest Farmer contribution to these Browns.

Thomas lasted 11 years. Bitonio is entering year six, with a contract that runs through 2022, which would be his ninth year. Bitonio hasn’t played to a Hall of Fame level like Thomas, but is there any reason to expect anything other than a full decade, or more, of high-level play from Bitonio? He should reap what Thomas never did, which is the chance to play for a winning team. At this point, expect Bitonio to be part of that for the long haul.

The veteran offensive lineman has been through plenty of tough Decembers in Cleveland. This year, though, has been different, as the Browns enter their home finale with wins in four of their last five games.

A sellout crowd awaits.

“It’s big news,” Bitonio said.
It’s been good to put together a couple of wins here. We have two in a row, then four of five and then we’re trying to finish the season with a couple more. It’s been good to feel wins, learn how to win some close games. That was pretty much a playoff elimination game last week. I know the games on Sunday didn’t go our way but against the Denver the loser was out. We found a way to win. It wasn’t the prettiest but the good teams in the league — I’m not saying we’re there yet — find ways to win games.

It was cool. We didn’t get home until 5 a.m. from Denver. I don’t know what took so long but it was a late night. I woke up at 12 and I was like, ‘Let’s see what games we’ve got.’ I know I had to watch Baltimore and then Pittsburgh play. Pittsburgh was the big one and they ended up pulling it off. It was fun to watch a game where it’s like, ‘Hey, if this team loses we still have a chance.’ It was cool to be a part of that. Me and my wife were sitting there rooting against them a little bit. It’s late December and usually around this time we’re thinking about offseason stuff and now it’s, ‘hey, we’ve got a chance to do something’ and we’re trying to work to finish the season with two more wins.No. I don’t think Gregg (Williams) would let us. Gregg’s done a good job of keeping us focused. The whole time it’s been focused on us. We want to really, really try to improve our team each week and try to get the best guys out there. For us to worry about that kind of stuff, it would have been cool to sneak in but we didn’t play well enough early in the year. We’ve got a lot to still improve on. For us, let’s get better this week, let’s go 1-0, let’s get to .500 and we’ll see what happens after that.Pretty impressive. He had a run, and I knew it wasn’t a good run look because I had to block it but for a quarterback to see that was really cool. The communication, it’s a loud stadium. For us to try and communicate back and tell the O-line how we’re blocking it, get the receivers the right routes with some hand signals. Then (Antonio) Callaway made a great play. Wide open, good throw. It was fun. It gave us the lead and ended up being the game-winning score. That was a sweet play, man. It’s something you’ve seen develop since he’s become the starterBaker’s really improved. Freddie (Kitchens) has done a good job of getting us in the right plays. Any time we get near the 40 or 30, someone in the huddle — it might be Jarvis (Landry), it might be myself, it might be JC (Tretter), it might be Kevin (Zeitler) — someone is saying no penalties, no sacks, no negative plays, we can’t afford to lose it here. Baker’s done a good job making decisions and we’ve done our best to give him the best looks around him and we’ve had some good playcalls. It’s been cool to score touchdowns. It’s almost coming to a placewhere we get down there and we’re going to put this one in.We’re improving. We’re working and we’ve got hungry, young guys. We’ve got a big group of core guys. It’s not like we have a 13-year guy in place (at quarterback) where we say we’ve got to win now. That’s going to be our mindset but we have a lot of young guys that are going to improve. The Year 1 to Year 2 jump is usually pretty big for a lot of guys. Then you have guys like Myles (Garrett) going 2 to 3, Larry (Ogunjobi) 2 to 3. Then you’ve got the O-line that hopefully will be together coming back. It’s going to be fun. I know we have expectations now and have them for the first time in a while. It’s something we’ve got to work for and live up to. Now instead of working to prove people wrong, we’ve got to work to prove people right.

I think so in the sense we’re going to keep a lot of the same guys. A lot of times when you go from year to year and you haven’t been great there’s a lot of turnover. This year, I think the majority of our main pieces will be the same. Obviously we’re going to add some pieces in free agency and the draft. We’re going to keep the majority of the main guys.; the quarterback, the defensive end, the corner. These are cornerstone pieces and those are guys you want to build around. It’s going to be fun to see them develop.

There haven’t been many late-season sellouts at FirstEnergy Stadium during your career but Sunday will be just that. What’s that kind of support meant to you?

It’s big news. I know a lot of people have that Monday off so I’m sure it will be pretty rowdy with coach (Hue) Jackson coming to town. We’re giving them something to watch. I understand why people weren’t coming late in the season. It’s cold, Christmas time, there’s reasons not to make it to the game. We’re trying to play our hearts out and we’re giving it everything we have. For them to come out and support us has been awesome. We’ve done well at home this season. We’re trying to finish up with a bang. We’ll be 5-2-1 at home if we win, which is definitely the best record we’ve had in a while. Hopefully we can finish out and get the win and run in that tunnel after the win. It’s special and really cool to see.

Britton Colquitt Jersey

The internet is full of odd content, but a new commercial featuring Browns punter Britton Colquitt goes above and beyond the usual standard of strange.

There’s a lot to unpack here. First, some context. The ad is from Power Home Solar & Roofing, who posted it on YouTube on Nov. 7. From the video, we see the adult is Jayson and the kid’s name is Christian, but the YouTube description gives a little more background:

With that out of the way, let’s go ahead and break down the three strangest aspects of the commercial.

WHY IS THERE A TALKING DOG? Here I am, puzzled grin on my face as I watch the cringe-worthy dance moves and acting of Colquitt and the Wallers, and then my jaw just drops when they cut to the dog. I have so many questions. Why? Why is the dog in a car? Can any dog be a Solar Dog or does it take years of special training? Does that dog have human teeth? Did his or her human leave Solar Dog in there by themself with the window rolled completely down? I’m appalled.

The dance being performed here is the “floss,” a move popularized by the internet that has become the go-to for children between the ages of 7 and 14 who play Fortnite every day. Unsurprisingly, the kid is by far the best flosser in the commercial. It’s practically a requirement that American youth within the previously stated age group know how to floss. If you have kids or have been to a sporting event recently and watched the dance cam on the jumbotron during a stoppage, you know what I’m talking about. The technique from the adults, meanwhile, leaves a lot to be desired. In the opening scene, Jayson is just doing entirely too much with his hips. You don’t need to rotate your torso that much. Plus, his timing is totally off during that brief second when it cuts back to the whole group. Colquitt suffers from the same afflictions during his flossing scene. Too much rotation, too much action with the hips. The fact that the adults are even flossing is bizarre. Why not just let the kid do it?

This commercial clearly takes place in an alternate universe. In said universe, we know several things to be true:

1) Colquitt practices in a completely empty stadium by himself

2) Colquitt can punt the ball out of the stadium

3) By doing so, he can create the solar energy to power all of the solar panels in FirstEnergy Stadium

4) Dogs can talk

If this were a punter like the Eagles’ Cameron Johnston or the Seahawks’ Michael Dickson, it would be more believable. Colquitt is 15th in the NFL with a 44.9-yard punting average. But I guess the dog did say that getting Power Home Solar grants the ability to punt the ball out of the stadium and dance extremely well. So anyone can do it, in theory. Give the director credit, though—those pre-punt special effects should seriously be considered for an Academy Award.
There are infinite other things to discuss here, including the acting (Colquitt is particularly awful), the fact that the kid’s jersey says POWERHOME on the back, and how one becomes a Solar Coach. However, I think it’s time to log off of the internet for a while.

In Matthew 18, Jesus tells of a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep to rescue one who has strayed from the flock. The story’s point: “It is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of (His) little ones should perish.”

Cleveland Browns punter Britton Colquitt knows just how true that is.

When Colquitt was in college at Tennessee, he was arrested and suspended from the football team multiple times for alcohol-related incidents. The worst was in February 2008, when Colquitt hit a parked car while driving under the influence, then fled the scene.

Then-Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer punished Colquitt for the incident by yanking his scholarship, suspending him for the first five games of his senior season, and requiring him to undergo alcohol counseling.

Although he grew up in a Christian home and embraced Christ around age 10 or 11, Colquitt was not immune to the temptations of the college party scene: “I got caught up in the drinking thing. Temptation put me off track.”

Fulmer, however, prevented Colquitt’s football future – and perhaps his future in general – from going off the rails entirely keeping him on Tennessee’s roster. “What I was seeing was an immature young man making childish decisions,” Fulmer said. “He was facing a real problem with alcohol, and I figured I could help him more if he was around the program than I could if he was off on his own.”

Fulmer recalled meeting in his office with Colquitt and his parents: Though Colquitt appeared to have a repentant heart, Fulmer needed to see Colquitt’s actions reflect it.

To Colquitt’s credit, they have: “I’d say he spends every day trying to make sure he’s proving it,” Fulmer said.

Perhaps due to his run-ins with the law, no NFL team drafted Colquitt after his college career ended. Still, the Denver Broncos took a chance on him in late 2009, signing him as a free agent.

His punting pedigree may have had something to do with that: Colquitt’s father Craig punted for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and his older brother Dustin is entering his 13th season with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Colquitt rewarded Denver by averaging 45.1 yards per punt during his time there before joining Cleveland as a free agent last year. He also appeared in two Super Bowls for the Broncos, winning in 2016. Colquitt and his father now have three Super Bowl rings between them.

More importantly, Colquitt has stayed on the straight-and-narrow. The father of three – with another on the way – has even given up alcohol entirely: “My wife and I decided that it’s something that only distracts, so I made it something that’s not a part of my life. It doesn’t do anything for me.”

Because he is grateful to God for rescuing him from the grips of alcohol, Colquitt treats every punt as an act of worship: “God gave me the ability and the strength in my body. He orchestrated where I am in life.”

Colquitt’s background >> Talk about going from the penthouse to the projects – Britton Colquitt was Denver’s punter when the Broncos won the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. He was cut on Aug. 30 last summer because of salary-cap reasons. Five days later, he signed with the Browns, who went 3-13 while Peyton Manning was finishing up his amazing career and helping Colquitt earn that Super Bowl ring.

“We fell in love with it out here,” Colquitt told reporters in Denver after being cut. “We have a great home, amazing church. When we came out here, Nicki and I weren’t married and now we have three kids. It’s a lot more than football. The Broncos organization has been amazing,” Colquitt said. “Hard to believe it’s over. It’s sad, but we’re thankful for the opportunity.”

Colquitt did not take long to find a new home with the Browns. He signed a four-year contract extension in February and said, “I’m thrilled. We love the organization and the fans. … The Browns are a class act.”

The Colquitts are a punting family, like generations of trapeze artists performing in the same circus. Britton’s father, Craig Colquitt, earned two Super Bowl rings as punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1978 to 1987. His brother, Dustin Colquitt, punts for the Kansas City Chiefs. His cousin, Jimmy Colquitt, punted briefly for the Seattle Seahawks in 1985.

Britton is not a family name, as one might suppose. Colquitt said his parents named him after television journalist Brit Hume after watching Hume on the ABC news show “Nightline” in the 1980s.

Why Colquitt is ranked 21st >> The punter for the Browns is always busy. That makes Colquitt more valuable than some position starters.

2016 recap >> Colquitt averaged 45.3 yards a punt on 83 punts last season. That ranked 18th in the league, but a closer look at the numbers shows more. Colquitt nailed 22 punts inside the 20 and yet only two punts resulted in touchbacks. The only other one to punt 50 or more times and have two or fewer touchbacks was Johnny Hekker of the Rams.

Why Colquitt is important in 2017 >> Colquitt not only is the Browns punter, he also holds on place kicks. Holder is an under-appreciated task in bad weather, but Colquitt has sure hands and doesn’t bobble the ball snapped to him from Charley Hughlett.

Derrick Kindred Jersey

The Indianapolis Colts have finally brought in a safety this off-season. They added Derrick Kindred which may not be the splashiest addition of the off-season, but is a solid ad overall. The Colts claimed the former Browns’ draft pick today and inherited what is left of his original rookie deal with the team. He was recently released by the team after they traded for safety Eric Murray from the Chiefs.

In today’s film room we will look what he brings to this Colts team. He struggled a bit in 2018 compared to previous seasons so we will also cover the areas that give me drawbacks in regards to this waiver claim.

Derrick Kindred was claimed off of waivers by the Colts yesterday. The safety spent his first three years in the NFL with the Browns after being a fourth round pick in 2016. He played in a total of 42 games while he was in Cleveland. What can he do for his new team?

Kindred played in a lot of games for being a fourth round pick. He even started 10 games back in 2017. He is a capable defender on the backend that can play decent coverage. Don’t expect him to help in the run game much though, as he only has 10 tackles for loss in his career.

The Colts picked up Kindred to give them some depth at the safety position. Both of their safeties are injury prone, so they need some insurance in case something happens. Kindred mostly plays strong safety though, so he would likely help spell Clayton Geathers.

Kindred has shown some potential in Cleveland. Based on the tape I’ve seen, he has decent ball skills and uses his hands well. He has 12 passes defended in his young career. Unfortunately, he doesn’t intercept the ball often, as he only has 2 of those in his career.

Kindred could be a useful player on third down packages or obvious passing situations. He gives the Colts another guy who can cover and run the field well. I wouldn’t expect too many big plays from him, but he is a serviceable backup who can give the Colts good minutes if needed.

The Indianapolis Colts announced Tuesday that they claimed safety Derrick Kindred off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland’s decision to release Kindred was a bit of a surprise. He was tentatively penciled in as the starter at strong safety following the team’s decision to trade Jabrill Peppers in a deal that brought wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to northeast Ohio. Kindred, who was a fourth round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, said his goodbye to the fanbase.

“I would like to give a huge thank you to the entire Browns organization for giving me the opportunity to start my career, playing the game that I love!

General Manager John Dorsey had explored a trade for the safety according a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He is expected to receive ‘considerable’ interest on waivers. Kindred has a cap hit of $2,149,839 this season. His dead cap space is $124,839. The decision to part with him will save $2.025 million.

General Manager John Dorsey had explored a trade for the safety according a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He is expected to receive ‘considerable’ interest on waivers. Kindred has a cap hit of $2,149,839 this season. His dead cap space is $124,839. The decision to part with him will save $2.025 million.

“I think Derrick Kindred, I really thought ’17 he played really well as a football player. In ’18, he didn’t play as good as he played on a ’17 level, but he played good enough to contribute. And right now I’m excited to see him when he gets back here in OTAs.”

The Colts still have the most salary cap space in the NFL ($61,213,486) according to the daily generated NFL Player’s Association report. Last season, the team started Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker at the safety positions. Kindred will factor in immediately at the strong safety spot occupied by Geathers.

The Browns took 14 players in the 2016 NFL Draft with Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman going first at No. 15 overall. Following the decision to release wide receiver Ricardo Louis, Kindred and trade defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, the Browns are left with just three players from that draft class: inside linebacker Joe Schobert, wide receiver Rashard Higgins and tight end Seth DeValve. The teams first five selections are gone. The three players remaining were taken in the fourth round or later.

All 14 of those players made the initial roster under then Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Sashi Brown. Dorsey has been weeding them out one by one.

General Manager John Dorsey had explored a trade for the safety according to the report. He is expected to receive ‘considerable’ interest on waivers. Kindred has a cap hit of $2,149,839 this season. His dead cap space is $124,839. The decision to part with him will save $2.025 million.

The decision was a bit unexpected considering Kindred was slated to start at strong safety in the absence of Jabrill Peppers, who was traded to the New York Giants as part of the deal for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Kindred was a fourth round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In his three seasons, he missed six games. The TCU product has accumulated 148 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and 12 pass deflections. Last season, he recorded 45 tackles, a forced fumble, an interception and a pass deflection.

Dorsey was asked specifically about the safety at the annual league owner’s meeting.

“I think Derrick Kindred, I really thought ’17 he played really well as a football player. In ’18, he didn’t play as good as he played on a ’17 level, but he played good enough to contribute. And right now I’m excited to see him when he gets back here in OTAs.”

Dorsey was also asked about filling the safety vacancy.

“We are going to have some players and we have some players on our roster that can help us. The work is never done so you will try to explore every opportunity and every avenue you can, but then all of a sudden, you have competition in OTAs and training camp. That is where all of that stuff begins to unfold,” Dorsey said.

TJ Carrie’s name was mentioned as a player who could potentially add depth to the position.

“We have guys on this team who have started at that position. I think what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to add competition. (T.J. Carrie has) a flexibility of (making a switch to safety). There’s a couple of other guys on that roster, too, who have flexibility to go from corner to safety as well.”

Cleveland has expressed interest in signing Tre Boston and Eric Berry. They are also reportedly interested in strong safety Morgan Burnett should the Pittsburgh Steelers choose to release him. The Browns had $35,086,422 in salary cap space entering Monday according to the NFL Player’s Association daily generated report.

Ricardo Louis Jersey

The Miami Dolphins are bringing a Miami native home. Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Ricardo Louis is joining the Dolphins on a one-year contract, according to Pro Football Talk. Born and raised in Miami, Louis will now return to South Florida to try to restart his NFL career after missing 2018 with a neck injury.

Louis was a fourth-round selection by the Browns in 2016 out of Auburn. He played in all 32 games for the Browns his first two seasons, starting 12 times. He has 45 receptions in his career for 562 yards.

The former Miami Beach Senior High School product ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine back in 2016. He will join Jakeem Grant (4.34), Brice Butler (4.37), Kenny Stills (4.38), Albert Wilson (4.43), and DeVante Parker (4.45) in a wide receiver group featuring players who ran a 4.45 or faster 40-yard dash. Miami’s other wide receiver, Isaiah Ford, ran a 4.61.

The Browns waived Louis in April. He does not factor into the compensatory draft pick calculations for 2020.

The Dolphins added a local product to their wide receiver corps Monday when they signed Miami Beach High School alum Ricardo Louis.

Louis joins the Dolphins after playing two seasons with the Cleveland Browns after being a fourth-round pick out of Auburn in the 2016 NFL draft. Louis has 45 career receptions: 18 in 2016 and 27 in 2017.

He spent the entire 2018 season on injured reserve because of a neck injury.

Louis has made 12 career starts, including nine in 2017.

His single-game career high is five receptions, which he has done three times — at Tennessee as a rookie in 2017, and against the Bengals and Jets in consecutive October games.

At Miami Beach High, Louis played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker and safety.

Louis’ biggest play at Auburn became known as the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare.” It was a 73-yard touchdown catch with 25 seconds remaining that gave Auburn a 43-38 victory against Georgia and helped them reach the National Championship game against Florida State.

With the Dolphins, Louis joins a wide receiver corps that includes Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Brice Butler and Isaiah Ford.

May 16 (UPI) — Miami Dolphins wide receiver Ricardo Louis will miss the entire 2019 season due to a knee injury.

The Dolphins placed Louis on injured reserve Thursday. Miami signed Louis as a free agent in April. He signed a one-year pact with the AFC East franchise.

Louis, 25, also missed his 2018 season due to a neck injury. The fourth round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft played his first three seasons for the Cleveland Browns. Louis had 357 yards on 27 catches in 16 games in 2017. He had 205 yards on 18 catches in 16 games during his rookie campaign.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound pass-catcher has never scored a touchdown in the NFL. Louis also has nine kick returns for 164 yards during his short NFL tenure.

Miami also signed center Tony Adams, guard Kyle Fuller and linebacker Nate Orchard on Thursday. The Dolphins waived/injured guard Isaac Asiata and waived center Kirk Barron in corresponding transactions.

The Dolphins’ roster of wide receivers includes DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills, Isaiah Ford, Trenton Irwin, Brice Butler, Preston Williams and Reece Horn.

The Cleveland Browns are waiving wide receiver Ricardo Louis according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Louis was a fourth round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Auburn. He has played in every game during his first two seasons in the league. During those opportunities, he has accumulated 45 receptions for 562 yards. He has also returned nine kickoffs for 164 yards.

Cleveland announced on July 25 that Louis would be lost for the season after complications of an injury. He underwent surgery as a result. The 24 year old suffered a bit of an unexpected hit on a return against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 19. It is unclear if that particular hit led to the injury. He played in six games after that game.

Browns wide receiver Ricardo Louis will not be able to suit up this season due to a neck injury that has not improved after surgery, head coach Hue Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. The Browns will place Louis on injured reserve, potentially leaving them without two key wide receivers to start the year.

Already, the Browns were without star Josh Gordon this week after he suffered a setback in his recovery from substance abuse. With Gordon in limbo and Louis sidelined, Browns GM John Dorsey says that he is considering out-of-house options, including free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Louis had 27 catches for 357 yards last season, a solid follow-up to his 18 catches for 205 yards as a rookie. After sitting out the 2018 season, he’ll have two more years to go on his contract with Cleveland.

Minus Gordon and Louis, the Browns’ receiver group is projected to include Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman, Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway, and potentially Jeff Janis and sixth-round pick Damion Ratley.

MIAMI (AP) — Receiver Ricardo Louis signed a one-year contract Monday with his hometown team, the Miami Dolphins, after missing the entire 2018 season following neck surgery.

The Dolphins were also allocated Brazilian defensive tackle Durval Queiroz Neto (Dur-VAHL’ KEY’-ay-royce NAY’-toh) via the NFL’s international pathway program. Queiroz spent the past four seasons on two of Brazil’s best teams — Cuiabá Arsenal and Galo FA — and played for the national team.

Louis was released last week by the Cleveland Browns. They made him a fourth-round draft pick in 2016, and he had 45 catches for 562 yards and no scores in his first two NFL seasons.

Louis was born in Miami and played in high school at Miami Beach before attending Auburn.

Joe Schobert Jersey

Myles Garrett is a special player on the Browns defense. His power, athleticism, and ability to overwhelm whatever left tackle he approaches has made him the face of Cleveland’s defense and a superstar edge rusher.

Rookie corner Denzel Ward is also a special player on the Browns defense. His speed, quickness, ball coverage skills, and overall consistency have added a major boost to Cleveland’s secondary, and he’s in the race for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

While these might be the two best players on the Browns defense, I don’t think both of them are the most valuable. That would go to third-year middle linebacker and Pro Bowler Joe Schobert, a former Wisconsin Badger.

In seven games this season, Schobert has made 56 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and six pass disruptions. But those raw stats don’t begin to tell the story of how much impact the MLB (or inside linebacker, it’s the same thing really.) gives this defense. In Schobert’s absence due to injury, the Browns defense notably stalled. Against the Falcons, however, the former fourth rounder in the 2016 NFL Draft made his presence as clear as day, making key plays throughout the game.

Pro Football Focus has Joe Schobert as the highest graded off-ball coverage linebacker in the league with a rating of 91.3. I don’t personally look at PFF’s rankings as the football gospel considering they do different work from my own, but it does show that other publications highly respect his impact in 2018.

For those who have watched Schobert from the beginning, this has been an awesome development. Coming out of Wisconsin, he started out as an edge defender and that didn’t really work. In his sophomore season in the NFL he made the switch to middle linebacker, putting up a good season and getting voted to the Pro Bowl as a replacement for Ryan Shazier thanks to being tied for second in tackles amongst all players (142).

And in 2018, Joe Schobert has put all the pieces together. No more is he just a good middle linebacker; He’s one of the best middle linebackers period. What Baker Mayfield is to the Browns offense is essentially what Schobert is to the Browns defense: He’s the quarterback of that unit, communicating with the rest of the unit what the play call is going to be.

But Schobert’s role in the Browns defense goes beyond following orders before the snap. For more on that, let’s breakdown his tape and explore just how good he is.

Schobert nice pass breakup

Schobert is in zone coverage on this 3rd and 5 at the Ravens’ 47. Baltimore rookie tight end Mark Andrews is who he eventually goes up against, and Joe Flacco has his sights set on him. It should be noted that the Ravens snapped the ball early so that they could have a post snap advantage over Cleveland.

Schobert recognizes Andrews is breaking inside, spins, and chases the tight end down. Flacco’s timing on this play is late; As soon as Andrews enters his break, that’s when the quarterback should fire the ball and lead his receiver for a first down. But Flacco fires this one late and behind because of his lack of anticipation.

But Schobert’s play here is extremely impressive. He’s able to spin and catch up to Andrews without slowing his mechanics down, and he makes a great diving pass breakup to force the Ravens to punt. This was made in spite of Baltimore getting the snap off early.

Schobert sacks Carr

Schobert is clearly a household name in Cleveland as a coverage linebacker, but his days of rushing the passer aren’t exactly over either. Middle linebackers can on occasion blitz the quarterback, and in a Gregg Williams defense that is rich in blitzing and pass rushing talent, it should come as no surprise that the third-year player would be involved too.

In general, the Browns defense did an excellent job of covering on this play, with no receiver open downfield. This is a pretty basic play for Schobert to make, but his balance and tackling technique on this sack of Derek Carr are evidence that he wasn’t out of place as a pass rusher.

For all the faults Gregg Williams has, he has a much better grasp of how each player in the Browns defense can succeed in 2018. He’s been ahead of the curve in teaching how to tackle and cause turnovers in an era where defenses are forced to adjust with the league favoring the passing game, and with a huge upgrade in talent it’s no wonder this defense ranks as one of the more dangerous and explosive in football.

In the three games Schobert missed, the Browns defense gave up exactly 32 points per game and 458.7 yards per game against a slaughterhouse of offenses in the Buccaneers, Steelers, and Chiefs.

The Falcons, another offensive powerhouse, put up 16 points and 382 total yards of offense when Schobert made his return. On the last three plays of the Falcons’ first drive of the 4th quarter, all on or inside Cleveland’s 5-yard line, he made three consecutive stops to turn the ball over on downs, with the last two becoming the biggest of the game.

Schoberts stops Coleman

This is a touchdown from Tevin Coleman if Schobert doesn’t interfere. He’s able to recognize the hole opening up in the A-gap and reacts the same time Coleman gets the handoff. Schobert’s efforts stop Coleman just shy of the end zone, forcing a 4th and 1.

Schobert phenomenal 4th down stop on Eric Saubert

Once again, this might be an easy touchdown if Schobert was taken out of the picture. The target on this play is third-string tight end Eric Saubert (for some reason) who breaks to the back middle of the end zone. Schobert quickly identifies that Saubert is a receiver on the play and accelerates toward him.

The linebacker’s tight coverage on the tight end forces Matt Ryan to attempt a perfect throw, one where he has to throw his receiver open. But against Schobert it’s overwhelming, and Ryan’s almost gets there but falls incomplete, giving the Browns the ball back on an incredible series of downs from Schobert.

Joe Schobert has ascended into a superstar linebacker, one that covers a huge patch in the Browns defense and makes that unit play much more cohesively as a whole. Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Denzel Ward may be the more explosive players, but in terms of overall value, I don’t think it can be argued Schobert ranks at the top.

Schobert is a special player, one that combines quick instincts with smooth coverage and refined footwork. He’s putting together a second consecutive Pro Bowl worthy season, and is more than deserving of a contract extension with Cleveland. At this rate it’s hard to see him not get it in the offseason.

Simply put, there are few coverage linebackers playing better football than Joe Schobert right now, and he deserves all the recognition he can get and then some.

Joe Schobert, star middle linebacker for the Cleveland Browns is the most underpaid linebacker in the NFL, and for that reason, it would make great sense to lock him up now with a significant pay raise and a contract extension. But if the Browns and Schobert’s agent cannot agree on his value, that might cause the team to look at alternatives.

This is not just another player. Schobert is a throwback to the old days when a dominant middle linebacker was the anchor of the defense. He’s unbelievably fast to the football, even though he didn’t light up the track at the Combines.

He’s a classic case of a guy who has “football speed” more than “track speed,” which is why he slid to the fourth round in 2016. But he made the Pro Bowl in 2017 and might have made it again last year were it not for a hamstring injury that caused him to miss some time.

The Browns are not building for the future. They are trying to “win now.” Trading him is not something that makes sense as a football move, as attested to by DPD’s Steve Gessic Jr.

Schobert is way underpaid, on his rookie contract as a fourth-round pick. He was probably the greatest pick that Sashi Brown ever made (not counting Myles Garrett, but truthfully you or I could have picked Garrett). At the time, he was viewed as an outside linebacker for Ray Horton’s 3-4 defense, but he eventually grew up to be a sensational middle linebacker in Gregg Williams’ 4-3.

At the moment, according to Overthecap.com, he has the 31st highest cap charge for an inside linebacker in the NFL for 2019, prior to the draft. Schobert is getting $2.13 million this year, which is actually a hefty increase from his first three years. The NFL has three linebackers who will generate a cap charge over $10 million and twelve who will earn over $5 million.

Schobert is paid less than LB Christian Kirksey ($8.2 Million) as well as newcomer Adarius Taylor (average $2.5 Million over two years). That’s crazy.

The options are to extend him, trade him to move up in the draft, or do nothing and hope that he lives up to his contract despite its unfairness.

Briean Boddy-Calhoun Jersey

There’s an abundance of talented safeties set to hit the free agent market next week when the new league year begins, from Earl Thomas to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The Los Angeles Rams, with a safety of their own (Lamarcus Joyner) becoming a free agent, are sure to show at least some interest in the top guys available.

If they’d prefer not to pay top dollar for Thomas or Adrian Amos, there will be a very affordable option on the market. The Browns will reportedly not tender restricted free agent Briean Boddy-Calhoun, which comes as somewhat of a surprise.

He’s a versatile defensive back with experience at just about every position in the secondary. He can cover the slot, play near the line of scrimmage, line up across from receivers outside or play single-high safety. To be sure, he’s not elite at any of those spots, but his flashes of talent are difficult to ignore.

This was a poor throw by Foles, but Boddy-Calhoun showed off outstanding range and ball skills on this interception in the preseason.

His best position in the NFL is at free safety, which is exactly what the Rams are looking for this offseason. They need a rangy player on the backend who can patrol the middle of the field and make plays on the ball.

And in the event that a cornerback was to go down with an injury, Boddy-Calhoun has shown in the past he can play the position. Just two years ago, he performed at a high level.

The soon-to-be former Browns defensive back will be affordable for a team like the Rams, which doesn’t have an abundance of cap space. He can probably be had for around $3 million per year, likely for one season in L.A.

The Rams have a clear need at safety and while landing one of the big names would be ideal, they could save money on the position by signing Boddy-Calhoun and spending the excess money on Rodger Saffold or Dante Fowler Jr.

The Browns want to keep wide receiver Rashard Higgins, but they’re willing to let the market have a chance at defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns will not tender Boddy-Calhoun as a restricted free agent.

The 26-year-old Boddy-Calhoun has played safety and slot corner for the Browns, and has started 21 games the last three seasons.

It’s unclear which level of tender they want to put on Higgins, who became one of quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s favorite targets last year.

Higgins caught 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns last year, a 14.7 yards per catch average.

The first-round tender for RFAs is $4.407 million and the second-round tender is $3.095 million, though Higgins has said he’s open to a long-term deal.

Boddy-Calhoun was non-tendered by the Browns earlier this month, making him a free agent. The former undrafted free agent had spent the majority of his three-year career in Cleveland.

Boddy-Calhoun started 15 games for the Browns over the past two seasons, including a 2018 campaign where he appeared in a career-high eight games. The cornerback also finished with career-bests in tackles (56) and QB hits (three). Pro Football Focus on ranked Boddy-Calhoun 79th among 112 eligible cornerbacks, but his pass-rushing grade was just outside the top-20.

In Houston, the 26-year-old will likely take on more of a backup role behind Johnathan Joseph and free agent addition Bradley Roby. The Texans are also rostering Aaron Colvin and Kayvon Webster.

Boddy-Calhoun started 15 games for the Browns over the past two seasons and is a decent addition for a Texans team looking to beef up its secondary. With Aaron Colvin locked in at slot corner, Boddy-Calhoun should primarily compete with Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby for playing time on the perimeter in advance of the 2019 season.

​With the ​NFL draft being a little over a month away, some interesting chess moves are starting to materialize now that the league year has officially begun.

The Houston Texans have made a move on the defensive side of the ball to ​try and sure up their secondary, picking up former Browns defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun. The front seven for Houston was already impressive with the likes of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

Having only started eight games last year, Boddy-Calhoun did pick up 56 total tackles and a forced fumble along the way. His rookie season produced three interceptions and 40 combined tackles. If Boddy-Calhoun can return to that ball-hawking form this year, the defense for Houston has that much more potential.

In the AFC South, there are legit starting quarterbacks everywhere you look. Whether it’s Andrew Luck, Nick Foles or Marcus Mariota, there are playmakers all around the division. ​Beefing up the secondary is just what the Texans need.

The Cleveland Browns will reportedly not tender free agent cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

That means the fourth-year player will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 13.

The news was first reported by Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com, citing an unnamed league source.

Boddy-Calhoun has spent the past three seasons with the Browns after being claimed off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars just prior to the start of the 2016 season. He has played in 43 games, making 22 starts, and has three interceptions, 132 total tackles and 19 pass breakups.

Once seen as a valuable slot cornerback, Boddy-Calhoun has seen his production drop each season in Cleveland, as his three career interceptions all came as a rookie, while his pass breakups have declined from 11 his rookie year to just two last season.

Boddy-Calhoun finished the 2018 season ranked as the league’s No. 79 ranked cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus, as he posted a grade of 61.9.

In addition to Boddy-Calhoun, the Browns are also facing decisions on cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and Phillip Gaines, who are both unrestricted free agents, as well as cornerback Juston Burris, a restricted free agent.

The Texans’ biggest weakness in 2018 was their cornerbacks. Throw the ball to beat the Houston Texans. This offseason they’ve made it a singular focus to improve this position through free agency despite the talent limitations this class provided. They signed Tashaun Gipson to replace Tyrann Mathieu. They signed Bradley Roby. And today they uh signed Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

Boddy-Calhoun is a free agent after the Browns decided not to tender him to make him a restricted free agent. I don’t know enough to have a BIG opinion here. We will have to watch the film. Come back later for better analysis. Until the next look at this as a spin at the wheel as Houston tries to improve their secondary.

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans have signed cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun as they continue to add to their secondary.

His signing Friday comes after they signed safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Bradley Roby in recent days after losing Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu.

Boddy-Calhoun started 21 games in three seasons for the Cleveland Browns. He has 128 career tackles, 19 passes defended and three interceptions.

Terms of the deal weren’t released.

Rashard Higgins Jersey

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns bolstered the receiving corps by acquiring multi-time Pro Bowl pass catcher Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants on March 13, and on the first day of the offseason workout program, they added more depth on the outside of the offense.

The Browns announced several moves prior to the start of the offseason program Monday, including the signing of restricted free-agent receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins.

Along with Higgins, the Browns signed free-agent defensive back Juston Burris, as well as two of their exclusive-rights free agents, defensive back Jermaine Whitehead and defensive lineman Trevon Coley. Also, the Browns waived defensive back Derrick Kindred, cornerback Howard Wilson and wide receiver Ricardo Louis.

A fifth-round pick of the Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft, Higgins had a career year in 2018.

Higgins turned 39 receptions into 572 yards, an average of 14.7 yards per catch, and ranked tied for second on the team with four receiving touchdowns. Higgins set new single-season career highs for receptions, yards, yards per catch and touchdowns in 2018.

Over his first three seasons with the Browns, Higgins converted his 72 receptions into 961 yards and six touchdowns.

Initially, Higgins was waived at the end of training camp in 2017, and later, signed with the practice squad, only to be elevated to the active roster just one week later. Higgins took advantage of the second chance, catching 27 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

Those two touchdowns came in the regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Higgins had one of the Browns’ most memorable celebrations of the 2018 season. Nicknamed “Hollywood,” Higgins lived up to that moniker in a 26-18 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on December 23.

After hauling in a 17-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, Higgins decided it was time to walk the red carpet, and his teammates joined in on the celebration, as they served as mock photographers angling to get the best pictures.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway will provide receiver depth behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry this season. Those are two late-round Cleveland Browns draft picks supplementing two big names acquired in trades. The Browns positioning themselves with those draft picks to have young depth in the receiver room qualifies as move No. 20 on our list of 25 decisions that transformed the Browns.

Draft Higgins in the fifth round in 2016 at No. 172. Draft Callaway in the fourth round in 2018 at No. 105.The Browns acquired their top receivers through trades and by promising them money. Landry arrived before the 2019 season, acquired for a fourth-round pick and then handed a five-year, $75 million extension. A year later, Beckham was acquired for a first-round pick, a third-round pick and Jabrill Peppers. And maybe he’ll get a new deal as well.

The Browns let those receivers develop elsewhere and then used their available cap space and draft capital to bring them in.

Higgins and Callaway they did on their own. And when players like that can be your No. 3 and No. 4 receivers, behind two established veteran stars, you have a passing game that can truly threaten defenses. You have a passing game that can potentially withstand any minor injuries or opposing gameplans that focus on a particular pass catcher.

There are many years in Browns recent history when Higgins and Callaway as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers would be acceptable. As the No. 3 and No. 4 receivers? That really should have Baker Mayfield feeling dangerous.

Higgins caught 39 passes for 572 yards in 13 games last year, his third season. Callaway caught 43 passes for 586 yards in 16 games as a rookie.

Combined, here was their average production per game: 9 targets, 6 catches, 80 yards.

That was last year without Beckham, obviously, when Callaway established himself as a threat while learning the game after sitting out his last year at Florida, and when Higgins was just easing into an immediate chemistry with Mayfield.

Landry averaged five catches and 61 yards per game last season. Beckham averaged six catches for 88 yards.

Combined, that’s 17 catches and 229 yards per game last season from what will be the top four receivers this year. And that was with a learning-on-the-go Mayfield and an aging Eli Manning for Beckham. There’s far greater potential in the passing game this season.

You’ve seen the alternative for years — a lack of receiver depth.

Think about the 2017 season, when Bryce Treggs, Kasen Williams and Sammie Coates were viewed as potential answers and no one at the receiver position gained more than 357 yards catching the ball.

Think about 2016, when the fourth-best receiver was rookie Ricardo Louis, who caught 18 passes.

Think about all the years the Browns relied on receivers like Kenny Britt, Dwayne Bowe or Greg Little.

Those were the alternatives. This is better.

The acquisitions of Higgins and Callaway are perfect illustrations of the philosophies of the men who brought them to Cleveland.

Sashi Brown drafted 14 players in 2016, and four of them were receivers. The first-rounder that needed to work, Corey Coleman, was a big swing and a miss. But by trading down, Brown accumulated extra picks, which was in line with his philosophy that the draft is risky, even at the top, and the more picks you have, the better chance you have of finding some good players.

Brown drafted Ricardo Louis in the fourth round and Jordan Payton and Higgins in the fifth round. No part of the plan ever believed that Coleman, Louis, Payton and Higgins would all stick as long-term receivers. Finding great skill players in the fourth round and later isn’t the norm.

But if you try three guys there, maybe one will work — and Higgins did.

Callaway, meanwhile, fits John Dorsey’s profile of taking risks on players with off-field issues. Dorsey thought Callaway was a first- or second-round talent who fell after missing his last year at Florida after a suspension for using stolen credit cards. He had other issues, as Mary Kay Cabot noted on draft day, “including a sexual assault allegation of which he was eventually cleared, and a misdemeanor marijuana conviction in 2017.”

That’s what Dorsey does. Once in Cleveland, the Browns threw Callaway right into a receiver group that was thinned by the departures of Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman. He was targeted a combined 20 times in weeks three and four, as the Browns relied too much of a rusty rookie. But if Callaway was the No. 2 Browns receiver at times as a rookie, he can now settle in as No. 3 or No. 4 as a more prepared second-year player.

He’s a classic Dorsey pick, paired with a classic Brown pick.

Higgins will earn just over $2 million this season and then become an unrestricted free agent. Callaway is in year two of his four-year rookie deal. The idea of them continuing to grow along with Mayfield is enticing, but it may not be realistic to keep Higgins — when Landry, Beckham and Callaway are here — on a long-team deal after this season. For this season, enjoy the idea of the Browns giving Mayfield four receivers he can believe him.

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey has quietly emerged as one of the Ravens’ best players, earning the team’s Most Valuable Player honor as voted by the media.

Humphrey did not validate that award in the team’s 26-24 win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday as he was on the wrong end of several significant plays that could have cost the Ravens the victory and the AFC North title.

He was outleaped by tight end David Njoku for a 42-yard gain in the third quarter, surrendered a 38-yard pass to wide receiver Antonio Callaway in the first, watched wide receiver Breshad Perriman corral a 19-yard throw along the right sideline in the fourth, and allowed…

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku and wide receiver Rashard Higgins told police they had no involvement in an alleged rape at their apartment early Saturday morning.

According to TMZ Sports, a 22-year-old woman told police that Kashwayne Nelson raped her after she fell asleep in Higgins’ bed.

Njoku said Nelson is his friend who also lives in the apartment, but added he had no knowledge of the allegations since he was in his bedroom the entire evening.

The woman told police she awoke to find Nelson having sex with her. Nelson was alleged to have then pulled her phone away from her and grabbed her hair when she tried to call 911.

She said she eventually managed to leave the apartment and later contacted the police.

Higgins said he had been with the woman earlier in the night before leaving the apartment because he couldn’t sleep.

Nelson was arrested on suspicion of rape, and he has also been charged with obstruction of justice after giving the police a fake ID.

Per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns released the following statement regarding the situation:

“Rashard immediately notified us of the situation and he and David fully cooperated with the police while being interviewed. While our players were not the target of any allegations involving illegal activity, they understand the seriousness of the situation and we have expressed our concerns regarding the matter. They will continue to cooperate with the authorities as needed.”

Njoku is set to enter his second NFL season after the Browns selected him in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Miami.

Higgins is a third-year pro who the Browns selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft out of Colorado State.

Trevon Coley Jersey

Browns defensive tackle Trevon Coley is one of those special cases I mentioned in my introduction to these Breakout Players columns. Technically, he’s heading into his second year in the NFL, but he came out of college in 2016. Coley wasn’t drafted that year, and then signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent shortly thereafter.

It was a start, but ultimately Coley wouldn’t make it out of training camp that year with the Ravens. They released him and as the 2016 season opened, he found himself a man without a job. He would eventually make it back into the NFL by signing onto Washington’s practice squad at the end of that November, but he didn’t last very long and was released again a couple of weeks later.

When a guy can’t even stick on a practice squad for more than a few weeks, there is usually some question about whether he is made out to be an NFL player. I am sure Coley was starting to have some doubts of his own at that point. Fortunately for him, the Browns signed him to their practice squad a couple of days after Washington dropped him, and he remained there for the rest of that season. It could be humbling to be fired by the first two teams that gave you a shot.
But the truth is sometimes it’s just about finding the right fit. And Coley found his in Cleveland.

It’s really rather astonishing that Coley went from the chaos of bouncing around like that in his first year, not really knowing if he would even get another shot, to then turn around and earn a starting job at defensive tackle for the Browns last year. Hell, heading into training camp last summer, Coley was probably no better than third team on the depth chart, and maybe even worse than that. And yet he put in the work, showed what he could do, and ended up starting 15 games last season.

Coming from where he had been the previous year, 2017 would normally have definitely qualified as a breakout year for Coley, except for one thing:

After watching his film, I think he was just getting started.

Coley was the starting 3-technique last year, and in that position you have to be able to rush the passer at least as well as — but preferably better than — you play the run. The 3-technique usually lines up in the B gap and tries to wreak havoc up the field. Coley didn’t play at 3-technique exclusively, as the Browns like to move him around a little bit, especially on passing downs. However, he spent the majority of time as the 3-technique and while he played pretty well there last year, he still has plenty of room to grow.

Hue Jackson said that Trevon Coley will not play against the Lions on Thursday, but he returned to practicing with the team on Tuesday. Coley suffered a high ankle sprain early in training camp on Aug. 2 and had not practiced since.

“He is back,” Jackson said after Tuesday’s practice. “It was good to see him at practice. I am not going to put him out there this week [against Detroit]. We are going to make sure that he is ready. His injury was a little bit different. We will make sure that he is ready for Pittsburgh. I feel very encouraged that he will be ready to go.”

Barring any setbacks, Coley should be ready for the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 9th.

Coley made the team in 2017 and ended up becoming one of the starting defensive tackles. He started 15 games and finished with 41 tackles, including two sacks, two passes broken up and a fumble recovery. Coley led the Browns defensive linemen in tackles.

Coley (6-1, 310) bounced around NFL practice squads after signing as an undrafted rookie free agent from Florida Atlantic with the Ravens after the 2016 NFL Draft. He was waived after training camp and signed with the Redskins practice squad before being released in December, and then he signed with the Browns practice squad on Dec. 15.

Following the 2016 season, the Browns signed Coley and he took part in the team’s offseason program.

Coley said being an undrafted free agent helped him make the team.

“It happens,” he said. “If I could have written the story, it would have been written differently, but that is the challenge that was placed in front of me and I am all for it.”

Coley continued, “Of course, (being drafted) is what everybody wants, but it does not work out like that for everyone. I come out every day and think about it, what I have been through and just come out here and play as hard as I can every day.”

In his first preseason game as a rookie in 2017, Coley had four tackles, including a strip-sack and a forced fumble in the opener that set up the Browns first touchdown.

Coley was asked what helped him to make an impression on the coaching staff in Cleveland, and he pointed to one of his teammates. He said Jamie Meder was a big inspiration for him when he made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent. Meder, who like himself, took the hard route to the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Ashland University.
8COMMENTS

“Jamie Meder has been big for me,” Coley said. “He has been helping me throughout a lot, and Shelton, also. Every time I get to pick his brain on something small or what he does well, I ask him a lot. The whole defensive line has really been good to me, and Clyde (Simmons), of course.

Meder and Larry Ogunjobi have been working with the first team while Coley has been sidelined. Caleb Brantley has also been in the rotation.

The Browns on Friday tendered restricted free agent Rashard Higgins and exclusive rights free agents defensive tackle Trevon Coley and defensive back Jermaine Whitehead.

Higgins, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, blossomed in his third season with the Browns, catching 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns. For his career, Higgins has 72 receptions, 961 yards and six touchdowns.

Coley has started 29 games over the past two seasons in Cleveland, compiling 80 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a safety.

Whitehead, whom the Browns claimed via waivers from the Packers midway through last season, played exclusively on special teams in his seven games with Cleveland.

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Higgins was a fifth round pick out of Colorado State in the 2016 NFL Draft. Over the course of his first two seasons, he missed one game. He recorded 33 receptions for 389 yards and two touchdowns. ‘Hollywood’ surpassed those numbers this season alone. Higgins recorded 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns.

Higgins was fifth on the team in receptions this season. He did miss three games this season due to injury.

The announcement essentially confirms that the team will not retain restricted free agent defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

Boddy-Calhoun is an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota entering his fourth season. In his rookie season, he recorded 43 tackles, 11 pass deflections, a sack, three interceptions and a touchdown. In his second season, he recorded 39 tackles and six pass deflections. His third season was the most interesting. The Browns hired General Manager John Dorsey in December. Boddy-Calhoun was almost immediately moved to a backup free safety role. It suggested that the executive did not value the player in the same manner as his predecessors.

Since joining the Browns, the Ohio native has undergone anger and alcohol abuse management. Hunt has also been advising students to avoid the same mistakes that he has made in life.

“I have been going to schools talking to high school kids. Just telling them that you guys have to make smart decisions. I have done make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, and you just have to make the best decision for you.”

The former third round choice explained his message to the students.

“Just to go out there and let them know how important it is and just tell them because I really didn’t have anybody come talk to me when I was in high school or somebody to look up to, explain that nobody is perfect and that you have to learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same mistakes twice.”

Hunt has been suspended for the first eight games of the season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Seth DeValve Jersey

The Cleveland Browns have a lot of exciting pieces on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Jarvis Landry are returning for their second seasons in Cleveland. David Njoku arrived as a legitimate receiving tight end at the end of 2018. Then there are the new additions. Cleveland added superstars Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham in the offseason. Hunt has yet to serve an eight game suspension, but Chubb is capable of carrying the load until he gets back. Sophomore quarterback Baker Mayfield has weapons galore at his disposal. However, one name often flies under the radar in Browns talk: tight end Seth DeValve. A potential Seth DeValve breakout may be vital to one of the best and most exciting offenses Cleveland has ever boasted.

DeValve enters his fourth NFL season with a fair amount of ups and downs. He enjoyed a mini breakout in 2017, when he caught 33 passes for 395 yards. Last year, he played just 98 snaps, fourth among Browns tight ends. He has flashed exceptional athleticism and route running talent, but has played limited snaps due to underwhelming blocking ability. However, the Browns like to employ two tight end sets. They did so on 18% of plays in 2018 after they fired Hue Jackson, slightly above the league average of 16%. They also ran sets with three tight ends on an impressive 14% of plays. League average sits at 3% there.

Head coach and offensive play caller Freddie Kitchens is excellent at scheming his second tight end open. Darren Fells is essentially a sixth offensive lineman and he caught three touchdowns last year, including the first of Mayfield’s career. DeValve is a far superior receiver to Fells, and Fells is now a free agent. That means that there are 420 snaps to be replaced in the Browns offense, and a majority of those should go to DeValve and the newly signed Demetrius Harris. If he steps up and improves his blocking, the opportunity to thrive is staring him in the face.

Defenses are going to have a lot of players to scheme for against Cleveland in 2019. Beckham Jr. is a top five NFL receiver who commands lots of double teams and attention. Jarvis Landry also deserves attention, especially out of the slot, where he’ll play more in 2019 with the addition of Beckham. Once Hunt is back from suspension the Browns will have two running backs with compatible skill sets. Even Njoku is a young, athletic tight end that defenses will want to key on to. Mayfield wants to spread the ball around. Thanks to Kitchens’ schemes and the gravity of DeValve’s teammates, he should have all kinds of opportunity to showcase his route running ability and make a big offensive impact.

A lot of people note that there are only two Sashi Brown picks left on Cleveland’s roster; DeValve and Njoku. Though there is a slight chance DeValve gets cut, he’s a good young player being paid only $815K in 2019. The Browns would be wise to hold onto him for another season and let him capitalize on an opportunity to break out.

On Monday, Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first white NFL player to kneel during the national anthem. His wife, Erica Harris DeValve, didn’t know he was going to kneel until she saw it for herself at the game.

Erica is black, and as Seth described during the postgame interviews, he said that he was going to “be raising children that don’t look like (him).” It was a heartfelt statement and action that, according to Michael Bennett, would help amplify the conversation about social injustice.

On Thursday, Erica wrote an article for theroot.com and issued her own powerful response to her husband’s activism.

On Monday night, Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first white NFL player to protest during the national anthem when he kneeled before the team’s preseason game against the New York Giants.

Nearly a dozen players on the Browns knelt during the anthem and others on the team put their arms around their teammate in a sign of solidarity. It is the largest protest by a single team seen this season.

DeValve’s kneel comes just one week after Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett called for white players to participate in the national anthem protest. Eagles defensive end Chris Long has been one of the most outspoken players in regards to politics and he joined in the anthem protests by putting his arm around Malcolm Jenkins, who had his first raised in air.

DeValve explained his decision to protest with reporters after the game:

“It saddens me that in 2017, we have to do something like that. I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem. I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this country and to serve this country. I want to honor them as much as I can. The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizen that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody and I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are things in this country that still need to change. I, myself, will be raising children that don’t look like me and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now. I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. That’s why I did what I did.”

The anthem protests started last season and were made prominent by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The protests have started back up in the aftermath of a white supremacist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month.

On Monday night, I walked into FirstEnergy Stadium having absolutely no clue what was going to happen during the national anthem. When it began, I saw a group of Browns players kneeling and was proud. A few moments later, I noticed that No. 87—my husband, Seth—was among them, and I was even prouder.

That moment reconfirmed a few things that I knew: that the many in-depth conversations about race that Seth and I had—that every interracial couple must have had—resonated and took root with him; that he knew this was bigger than just one-on-one chatting with me over dinner or coffee; and that he gets it, beyond a simple desire to be protective of me as his wife.

While I understand (and am deeply proud) that Seth is the first white NFL player to kneel during a demonstration like this (on Sept. 4, 2016, Megan Rapinoe, a U.S. women’s soccer player, was the first white professional athlete to do so), I would like to push back against some of the attention he’s been getting that portrays him as some sort of white savior to a movement that was started and has been carried on by black football players for about a year now.

I am grateful for the widespread support and praise that Seth is getting for his actions, but I would like to offer a humble reminder that a man—a black man—literally lost his job for taking a knee, week after week, on his own. Colin Kaepernick bravely took a step and began a movement throughout the NFL, and he suffered a ridiculous amount of hate and threats and ultimately lost his life’s work in the sport he loves.

We should not see Seth’s participation as legitimizing this movement. Rather, he chose to be an ally of his black teammates. To center the focus of Monday’s demonstration solely on Seth is to distract from what our real focus should be: listening to the experiences and the voices of the black people who are using their platforms to continue to bring the issue of racism in the U.S. to the forefront. Seth, as a white individual, never has and never will truly have to feel the weight and burden of racial discrimination and racial oppression. No white person does or will. But all white people should care and take a stand against its prevalence in this country.

What I hope to see from this is a shift in the conversation to Seth’s black teammates, who realistically have to carry that burden all the time. I am discouraged by this idea that acknowledging and fighting against racism is a distraction that must be stored away in order to be a good football player. I wholeheartedly reject that narrative.

Black players in the NFL cannot just turn their concern on and off in order to be able to focus more on football. White players shouldn’t, either. Racism is a day-to-day reality, and I hope that, instead of holding Seth up on a pedestal, the response will be to do what he did: listen to the voices of the black people in your life, and choose to support them as they seek to make their voices heard.

To the people who are looking at pictures of us and saying, “Oh, well, that makes sense,” I offer a dramatic eye roll. People on Twitter have insinuated that it’s simply my appearance that inspired Seth to kneel with his teammates, or that I must’ve threatened Seth with leaving him or refusing to have sex with him if he didn’t join the demonstration. To even joke in this way is gross. Seth didn’t do what he did simply to obtain a gold star from his wife. His actions on Monday night were not the equivalent of him bringing home a bouquet of flowers after I’ve had a rough day.

In his interview after Monday night’s game, Seth said, “I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now.” I don’t think either of us foresaw that this choice to share about his personal life would become the go-to narrative to explain Seth’s actions in their entirety.

Seth understands how racism systematically oppresses people across this entire nation. He understands that to be complacent about it is not just unacceptable as a “black wife’s” husband; Seth supported his teammates because it was the right thing to do, it was the godly thing to do and it was the responsible thing to do. If I were white, he should have done the same, and I am confident that he would have.

In the last few days, we have seen a lot of the same comments that have been expressed since Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem: people imploring players to stand up because it is disrespectful to the flag, to the country, and to active military and veterans. But what Kaepernick did (and what various NFL players are continuing this season) is something we should see as real patriotism. They are engaging critically with the national anthem and this country’s articulated ideals; they are consciously observing the reality of our country’s current state; and they are using their platforms to publicly hold the country in which they live accountable to the ideals it is supposed to be upholding.

To be complacent that the U.S. strives to be “the land of the free” while so many of its citizens of color are being oppressed for their race is unpatriotic and irresponsible. I applaud those who realize that and do something about it rather than ignore it.