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Bryant 'ecstatic to be here'

Posted Mar 14, 2013

Browns free-agent signee Desmond Bryant spoke on Thursday about becoming a member of the Cleveland Browns.

Former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Desmond Bryant is excited about joining the Cleveland Browns.

Bryant, who was introduced to Cleveland by CEO Joe Banner and head coach Rob Chudzinski Thursday, was one of the Browns’ first two free-agent signings of the new NFL year, which started on Tuesday.

“I want to thank God,” Bryant said. “He’s blessed me with a lot of things and He’s helped me to get here. Without him, none of this would be possible. I’d like to thank the Browns, Coach Chud and Joe, for bringing me in here.

“I’m ecstatic to be here working with this new group of guys. I really feel like they really know what it takes to build a winning team. It’s exciting in this building. I can feel an energy in the building like things are moving in the right direction. I also want to thank my family. They’ve all been extremely supportive. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to be in this position. I’m just happy to be here and can’t wait to get to work.”

Bryant comes to Cleveland after spending the first four years of his career with the Raiders, who signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2009 NFL Draft. He played in 63 of a possible 64 regular-season games and made 18 starts for the Raiders in four seasons.

During that time, he registered 124 total tackles, 11.5 quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In 2012, Bryant made a career-best 48 tackles and tied for the team lead with four sacks, including one in each of the final four games of the year.

“The kind of player I am is passionate,” Bryant said. “I’m out there giving 100 percent on every play. I love to be on the field as much as possible, and try to make something happen. Passion is the first word, and then, relentless. I like to think that I play whistle-to-whistle and sideline-to-sideline on every play.”

Having played both defensive end and tackle during his NFL career, Bryant feels he can help the Browns’ defense.

“My versatility, I think, will really help with the front seven,” Bryant said. “I can play end; I can play nose. I think one of my strengths as a player is being able to rush the passer and affect the quarterback. Having the ability to move around and run with my rushing ability, I think I can really excel in this defense.

“In Oakland, we switched fronts a few times last year. I played end sometimes, and in college. Honestly, especially toward the end of the year, we ran plenty of three-down stuff. I didn’t play as much end, but I have played end. I’ve played every position on the defensive line, so I feel like transitioning to a 3-4 should be pretty smooth.”

HITTING THE MARKET

Bryant was the Browns’ second free-agent signing this season. He signed shortly after former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger agreed to terms with the team. When Bryant declared as a free agent, he wanted to scout all options and see what would be the best fit for him to make the biggest impact.

“I wanted to make sure that I looked, evaluated each team,” Bryant said. “I realized the strengths that the team has, particularly with Coach (Ray) Horton on defense. He’s done a lot of great things in this league. In talking to people, they all had a lot of good things to say about him. His style of defense seems to suit my talents. I think I’ll be able to excel. Seeing Paul come here, it just added to the excitement.

“I think I add some competition and some leadership by example.”

REUNITING WITH GROVES

In signing with the Browns, Bryant got a chance to reunite with one of his former coaches and teammates.

Brad Roll, the Browns’ new strength and conditioning coach, spent four seasons (2008-11) with the Raiders. Former Raiders and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Quentin Groves was the Browns’ third free-agent to agree to terms.

“He’s a guy who comes in and wants to win,” Bryant said of Groves. “When he was there with us, he was a player that really cared. He was out there working every day. I think he’s going to do great things for us. He’s a great athlete. I think he’s also a pretty versatile guy.”

Chudzinski added, “I think Quentin is a very athletic linebacker. I thought that this past year, he really blossomed in a 3-4 system in Ray’s defense. He’s a real unselfish guy, can play anywhere, loves to play football. He’s a special teams performer, does a great job on special teams. He came highly recommended from people within our staff and around the building. We’re excited about Quentin coming in.”

LEARNING FROM THE PAST

Last month, Bryant was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief after causing a disturbance at a neighbor’s house. Bryant acknowledged the “mistake” and has moved on.

“I apologize for everything that happened, but I feel I’ve learned from it, and I think, over the years I’ve been in the league, that’s really not the kind of person that I am,” Bryant said. “That’s really not indicative of me. I’ve moved beyond that.”

Banner added, “We learned everything we could. We know people that know Desmond very well. Our new strength and conditioning coach was with him in Oakland last year. We evaluated the situation; we looked at his history and felt very comfortable that he fit the profile of what we were looking for here.”

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