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Chudzinski's goal: Bring back a winner

Posted Aug 22, 2013

Coach Rob Chudzinski understands and embraces the tradition of the Cleveland Browns, and wants to add to that legacy.

When Rob Chudzinski took over as the 14th head coach of the Cleveland Browns on January 10, 2013, reinforcing the team’s tradition of success and playing championship-level football were at the top of his “to-do" list.

“We want to bring a winner back to this area for those people, for those fans and to create that type of excitement,” Chudzinski said. “That is one of our goals and that is what drives us on a daily basis. We have a lot of work to do to get to that point, but more than that, I think you see a lot of things out here like the interactions with the fans, with the players, that is bringing everybody closer together. I think that is an important thing.”

Chudzinski said the tradition of the team “is very important” to him because he grew up supporting the Browns from his family’s home in Toledo. Chudzinski had some help in reinforcing the tradition of the Browns, and it came in the form of six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas.

Drafted by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Thomas quickly learned how important the team is to the city of Cleveland, and the fans.

“That’s one of those things I think about how cool it would be,” Thomas said. “When the Cavs went to The Finals (in 2007), that was cool, but this is such a football town that it would mean so much to everybody. It would be unbelievable, and it’s one of the things I try to talk to the young guys and let them understand how important this team is to this city.

“We could be legends if we bring this organization back to where it was a couple decades ago or even win a Super Bowl. You’d never buy another drink; you’d never buy another dinner the rest of your life if you win a Super Bowl here. Having Chud, a guy who grew up here, is awesome because he can help relate the passion and the intensity of the Cleveland Browns’ fans to this team.”

It is the goal to bring back the Browns’ tradition of winning that drove Thomas to sign an extension with the team at the end of training camp in 2011.

“I think about the day of me running out of the tunnel for a home playoff game,” Thomas said. “That’s my dream. That’s why I show up every day. You talk to guys that go through it and don’t even appreciate it, guys from New England, Indianapolis and those teams, and they just take it for granted that they’re going every year and they’re getting to experience those things. That’s what this game is all about. It’s a team game.

“The fun in this game is winning. I want to go to the playoffs. I’ve never gone to the playoffs, had only one winning season so far. That’s my motivating factor. It’s not individual awards or anything like that.”

HONORING THE PROCESS

In addition to preparing for their third preseason game, the Browns have spent the time getting into the rhythm of a regular-season week of play.

“We had a good week going through the process of our ‘mock week,’” Chudzinski said. “Our approach on road trips is as a business trip. We’ll have that approach tomorrow as the guys come over. We’ll meet, get on the plane, and head out for the game going forward. This will be a good opportunity for us, playing against a really good football team, and we’ll get another chance to see where we’re at and assess where we’re at as a team.”

INJURY UPDATES

During his post-practice press conference Thursday, Chudzinski announced that defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (back spasms) and kicker Brandon Bogotay (groin) will not be available for Saturday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Billy Winn will start for Bryant at defensive end and veteran Oniel Cousins will play with the first-team offense at right guard.

Defensive back Chris Owens (foot), outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (knee), and wide receiver Davone Bess (knee tendonitis) were held out during Thursday’s practice, but Chudzinski said the trio “would be able to play in the regular season. They’re questionable.”

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