After going undrafted this past April, Shugarts decided to stay in Ohio and signed with the Cleveland Browns as a rookie free agent earlier this week. Shugarts joined 14 other undrafted free agents, as well as 11 draft picks and four players in on a tryout basis, at the Browns’ rookie minicamp this weekend in Berea.
“I was prepared for that,” Shugarts said of not getting drafted. “I wasn’t disappointed at all. Just to stay in the great state of Ohio and a team like the Cleveland Browns that has as much tradition as a team like Ohio State, it’s a great opportunity and I’m really fortunate to have this chance.”
One of the biggest selling points for the Browns was offensive line coach George Warhop, who spent time with one of Shugarts’ teammates at Ohio State.
“I know their system here; they run a lot of the same pro-style stuff, “Shugarts said. “At the same time, this place has a lot of great tradition. This city has a lot of pride and they’ve got a great fan base. It’s really special and I’m really excited.”
Excitement for offensive linemen typically comes in the form of success from those who play behind him. In Shugarts’ case, he has gotten an opportunity to block for the Browns’ two first-round draft picks in running back
Shugarts has embraced the chance to block for Richardson and Weeden, who were record-setting players at The University of Alabama and Oklahoma State, respectively.
“I enjoy the opportunity to play with these first-rounders,” Shugarts said. “Trent’s a really nice guy. I trained with him down in Arizona. I hope to show what I can do, what I’m about, learn this offense, learn some plays and be out here and be physical, but at the same time, be finessed, be poised and try to earn a spot.”
As the 2012 season draws near, Shugarts has set one important goal for himself, remain in front of Richardson and Weeden as long as he can.
“I think this organization’s only going to go up,” Shugarts said. “They’ve got some great players out here and I’ve had a lot of fun. Obviously, I want to make the 53-man roster. That’s the highest expectation you can have, but to be on this team, to make the practice squad, just to be a part of this organization would be a dream come true.”