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McFadden came to Cleveland on mission

Posted May 11, 2013

Browns defensive back Leon McFadden came to Cleveland on a mission to prove he can play at the NFL level.


After getting selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, defensive back Leon McFadden set a goal for himself to come to rookie minicamp and show he belonged at the NFL level.

The 5-foot-9 McFadden also wanted to answer questions about whether his frame would allow him to defend bigger wide receivers.

“(I came to prove) that I can play ball,” McFadden said. “My size has been questionable for me throughout this process, and I’m going out here trying to prove that I can play amongst the bigger receivers. At first, I was thinking too much and learning the playbook instead of just playing ball. I felt like I got things settled down and the playbook’s learned, so I feel very confident about it now.

“It’s really settling in now because when I first got picked, it didn’t really set it. I was so excited and overwhelmed. Before, I didn’t have a clue about the Cleveland Browns’ interest in me, so now that I’m here, I’m happy and it’s all settling in.”

Having now gone through two NFL practices, McFadden learned how important it is to play at a high level on a consistent basis.

“Being a professional now, it’s all competing,” McFadden said. “Everyone’s the best of the best out here. Everybody’s working for that No. 1 spot, and I really like that and the competition is great.

“I feel good. We’re done with the install. Learning the playbook, that was the biggest thing. This is a whole new defense. I’m really focusing in on learning that and coming out here and competing. It’s a big transition. The practices are way more up-tempo than college, and that’s something to get used to. That’s why I’m here.”

This weekend’s rookie minicamp was the second time McFadden had been to Cleveland. The first came on April 27, the day after he was drafted by the Browns.

On that first trip, he toured the facility, met with the coaches and media, and was introduced to fourth-year Browns defensive back Joe Haden. Haden told McFadden that the NFL is a business and that everyone needs to “go out there and play ball.”

“I had the privilege of meeting Joe when I came down here for the media the next day after the draft, and he gave me some great words of wisdom, and what to expect, so I really appreciate that,” McFadden recalled.

“I was familiar when he first got into the league. I heard a lot about him. I followed him a little bit throughout college, and I like the style of play that he plays with.”

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Even though the Browns had wrapped up their offseason work for the week on Thursday afternoon, fourth-year defensive back Joe Haden came to the team’s Berea training facility, and spent Friday watching his younger brother Josh go through rookie minicamp.

The younger Haden, a running back who went to Boston College and later, the University of Toledo, is in Berea for a tryout this weekend.

“It’s really cool,” Haden said of watching his younger brother. “All of us played college football, and just to see him get a chance at the league and a team I’m already on is even more special. His dream the whole time was to go to the NFL, just like all my little brothers. That’s basically all of our dreams, to be in the league, and it’s just that much more special that I get to watch him and see it happen.

“He knows how to play all different special teams positions,” Haden said. “He’s a really good running back, as you saw when he was at Boston College. He did his thing. He’s a talent, and I would love to have him play with me.”

Josh Haden rushed for 692 yards and two touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 135 yards at Boston College before transferring to Toledo.

HOLLYWOOD SIGHTING

Josh Pence, who starred in The Social Network and is playing the role of the No. 1 overall quarterback in a movie featuring the Browns, Draft Day, was on hand for Saturday’s practice.

He spent part of the time taking in practice with Browns chief executive officer Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi, and then, got a tour of the team’s weight and locker rooms.

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