Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin believes in the direction the Cleveland Browns are heading, and the NFL Network analyst shared that message with the team prior to their last practice before the bye-week break.
The Browns being 4-5 and in second place in the AFC North Division despite starting three different quarterbacks and trading starting running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts two games into the season is something that has impressed Irvin.
“You guys are going through some things that a lot of teams would fall and crumble if they faced those issues,” Irvin told “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “They really would fall and crumble, especially at the quarterback position, but yet, they come up. You’re on your third quarterback and played the only undefeated team to a one-point game, and then, you beat last year’s champion. It’s just a matter of you guys believing you can do it and start working on the process of becoming a champion.
“Everything around us nowadays says, ‘Instant.’ Everybody does and everything we get in this world is all coming instant, instant, instant, so the process of becoming a champ gets thrown out. Nobody wants to go through that process. There’s nothing greater than to hoist the Lombardi Trophy when you know it started in a place that was not good. Now, you’re not a person that says, ‘I was added to a championship.’ You’re the person that said, ‘I built a championship.’”
During his first three years with the Dallas Cowboys, the team won 11 total games. After a 3-13 record during his rookie year, the Cowboys started a rookie quarterback, Troy Aikman, and went 1-15 in 1989. However, it was after the 7-9 season in 1990 that the Cowboys really caught fire.
The Cowboys won 11 games in 1991 and went on to win three Super Bowls in the next four seasons (1992-93, 1995). And Irvin sees similarities between the Cowboys of his generation and the current Browns squad.
“I see a lot of our early days, early Cowboys days a lot on this team,” Irvin said. “We talked about where they could possibly go and what it takes to get there. It’s one thing to come in and share with people where you can go, but I always think it’s important not to just tell them where you can go, but make sure you tell them how you can get there.
“Anger will only motivate and push you for a while because we don’t live in anger. You can’t harbor it and hold on to it. That kind of anger, revenge thing, it’ll only push you for a while. You’ve got to have inspiration to make it on another level. I want to be part of something great. I want to leave my mark. Say what you will. I started in the ghettos of Fort Lauderdale. That was where I started, but the NFL can’t write their story without me, baby. You can’t write your story, NFL, without me because I won three of them (Super Bowl championships). You put yourself in this history, and do something that they can never take from you. You make it so they can’t write the history of this league without you.’”
Irvin said the Browns are in good hands because of the leadership shown by his former University of Miami teammate, Rob Chudzinski, his former offensive coordinator with the Cowboys, Norv Turner, and a former Dallas teammate, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton.“I think it’s as optimistic as you’ve been in a long time, and I shared that with (the players), too,” Irvin said. “(I told them,) ‘This is like Dallas. Right now, they’re still treating me good in Dallas, and I haven’t stacked it up since ’99. You turn this thing around? You win here? Oh, it’s not just you owning the city. When your son’s son walks in this city, they’ll treat him like (gold). That’s how appreciative the people here will be because they have been missing this for a long time. You give them a championship, they shall love you forever, where you leave this place called time and you will go on to this place we call eternity and look back on time, they will still be loving you if you get a Super Bowl to this city right here.’”