BEREA -- With an infectious smile and a strong pass-rush to match, new Cleveland Browns outside linebacker
Some of Mingo’s former teammates at Louisiana State University -- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter and San Francisco 49ers strong safety Eric Reid -- were a part of the group of NFC rookies visiting the Browns’ training facility in Berea for the NFL’s annual Rookie Symposium last Friday, and spoke highly of the newest Browns outside linebacker.
“You’re getting a great player, a humble guy who just loves the sport,” Minter said. “He comes out every day to work hard and better himself. You’ll see. I used to see it every day at LSU. He was a great teammate, always uplifting, always positive and you couldn’t ask for a better man to be around.
“He’s just a great person. He’s just always positive, always happy-go-lucky even when sometimes, he doesn’t need to be. I feel like he just enjoys being out here. It was great being in the locker room with a guy like that.”
Reid said that Mingo helped raise his teammates’ levels of play because he was able to motivate them, no matter the circumstances.
“You get tired at LSU, playing in 100 degrees and the humidity, and then, Mingo’s joking around because he just forced a fumble,” Reid said. “I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve got to do something.’ That’s just the type of atmosphere we had, especially when I played with him.”
During his time at LSU, Mingo registered 29 tackles for 175 lost yards and 15 sacks that resulted in opponents losing 108 yards. He also forced four fumbles and recovered three others in 40 games over his three seasons with the Tigers.
“As a player, his athleticism is unmatched,” Minter said. “The guy can jump out of the ceiling, is as fast as a damn horse. The dude’s amazing, and to be honest, I haven’t seen anything yet. A lot of the things he did at practice were amazing. He deserves everything he’s got. I’m praying for him. I hope the best for him.
“He definitely attracted more blockers. Everybody was scheming around Mingo. You had to account for him, wherever he was. He definitely made my job a lot easier, and made a lot of guys’ jobs a lot easier. The encouragement he gave, he always saw the brighter side of things. That can always help a team to have a guy like that.”
Even though Mingo is switching from defensive end to outside linebacker at the same time as transitioning from college to the NFL, Minter and Reid are confident that their former teammate will be an impact player at the professional level.
“He was a ‘tweener’ when he came to LSU,” Minter recalled. “Coach didn’t know where to put him. He was a linebacker with me the first week. He’s just an athlete. He could play any position that he wants to.”
Reid added, “I know about Mingo and I know the type of ceiling that he has. A 6-5 linebacker running a 4.4, 4.5 is hard to handle, hard to deal with. You can put him in coverage; he’ll stop the run. That’s just the guy he is.”