BEREA -- Fourteen former college football players from the Cleveland area got the opportunity to work out with and in front of the coaches and front-office personnel of the Cleveland Browns at the team’s Casey Coleman Fieldhouse Friday.
Tight ends Travis Kelce (Cleveland Heights High School/University of Cincinnati) and Cordale Scott (Glenville/Toledo), defensive backs Mike Edwards (Glenville/Hawaii), Jamel Johnson (Glenville/Louisiana Tech) and Ashante Williams (Mayfield/Illinois), defensive end Justin Staples (Lakewood St. Edward/Illinois), defensive tackle Steve Bigach (Cleveland St. Ignatius/Iowa), inside linebacker Steve Greer (Solon/Virginia), offensive back Daniel Molls (Parma Padua/Toledo), center Matthew Mihalik (Gilmour Academy/Virginia), kickers Matt Weller (Twinsburg/Ohio) and Kevin Harper (Mentor/Pittsburgh), running back Jamaine Cooke (Midpark/Youngstown State), and wide receiver Perez Ashford (Shaker Heights/Northern Illinois) went through various position drills after being weighed and measured.
“It means a lot to me, being a native of Cleveland,” Edwards said. “Being able to be invited to the Browns’ facility for your workout is a tremendous accomplishment. I take a lot of pride in it and I thank God first because the Browns would be a dream team for me to play for.”
Johnson added, “It’s very special. As we were pulling up, I was thinking about the year they brought the Browns back to the stadium. I went to one of those games, and it was a special thing. I hadn’t seen them in the stadium before. That was just a moment that stuck with me forever. After one of my Muny League games, I was about 12, and my brother took me to the Browns game. It was one of the craziest experiences ever as a fan at a game. Just the love that the city has for the Browns, that undeniable love is real important.”
Edwards said he came to the workout with the Browns with the mission of proving he was a leader.
“I take charge when I get on the field, and I work hard day-in and day-out, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter what the conditions are,” Edwards said. “I just want to be the best I can be at any point in time, whether it’s walking around the facility, leading or playing on the football field.”
Kelce used the opportunity to showcase not only his speed, and ability to catch the football, but also his strength to play while his body is not at 100 percent. Kelce is still rehabbing from sports hernia surgery that he underwent following the 2012 college season.
“It’s really only been difficult in the aspect of sitting back and not competing,” Kelce said. “I’m a competitor at heart. Not being able to get the numbers up and be comparable to the other tight ends, any chance I can get to go out there, match my numbers up or match myself up against a guy or see where our talent level is compared to each other, I’m willing to go out there and do it. That’s just the confidence in myself to know I can get the job done. Now that I’m back at it, everything’s starting to fall into place for me.”
Working out for the Browns was a unique experience for Kelce, who credits his hometown with making him the competitor he is on the football field.
“Anybody from Cleveland will pretty much tell you that we’re a prideful city, especially about our sports,” Kelce said. “Growing up in a city like Cleveland definitely gave me a competitive edge. I hold that pride everywhere I go. I took that down to Cincinnati with me, and I’m going to take it wherever I end up in the NFL.”