JC Tretter’s going to be here for a while, and that’s exactly the way he wanted it.
The Browns veteran center, who signed a three-year contract extension with the Browns last week, elaborated on that subject and more while catching up with ClevelandBrowns.com.
CB.com: Now that it’s sunk in, how do you feel that you’re extended and going to be here for a while.
Tretter: It’s excitement. Just having the ability to understand where you’re going to be and where you’re going to be living, especially for my fiancee as well, just having that security of I’m going to be able to make this place home for the next three years. It’s an exciting time, really happy to be back and just glad we could get something done.
CB.com: From your perspective, how does something like this happen during the season?
Tretter: It’s mostly with your agent and they give you a call and give you updates as things progress. You have more phone calls, more conversations and you have to start getting down to the nitty gritty numbers and everything like that. Usually, you just let him do all that work and you focus on playing well and the main job at hand.
CB.com: When did Cleveland start feeling like home?
Tretter: I didn’t want to have to go to three different teams. I wanted to settle in and be a lifetime somebody. Cleveland was great, it’s close to both my family and my fiancee’s family. They’re two and a half hours away, a quick drive down. It was just great having the ability for people to come in to see games close to my hometown. It was just a really good fit. I love the staff here. I love the guys here. Having a guy like Joel (Bitonio), who I’ve been with since I got here, you just build friendships. That’s kind of the tough part of the business is sometimes you have to leave. Lucky for me, I don’t have to leave.
CB.com: As a tandem, how much better do you feel you and Joel have gotten since you came here in 2017?
Tretter: As individuals, every year you get better, you see more, you understand more. Then I think the more you can play together and understand his body movements, he understands where I’m going to be. It just makes everything cleaner. The more time you can play next to a guy, it’s going to get more and more easy and more and more efficient with your body movements.
CB.com: The reaction on the field was obvious last week with how much this team needed a win. How did that feel for everyone in the locker room?
Tretter: You just want some positive movement. We’ve been going a month long with some struggles and we just needed to get something positive going. We needed one, long drive and then a stop and just kind of get that monkey off our back, whatever it is. Now we move into a short week going against a really good Pittsburgh team, a division matchup. You don’t have much time to celebrate that one. You enjoy it in the locker room and then you kind of have to buckle down and get ready for this short week.
CB.com: When you guys looked back at Sunday’s game, what stood out about the goal-line situations and where you can improve?
Tretter: We’ve just got to do a better job moving guys and we can do a better job all around. That’s something that’s easily correctable. That’s not something that’s going to be a long-term issue. That’s something we can easily look and see what we did wrong, see what we can improve and fix it.
The Browns won last week after a missed field goal by the Bills in the last minute. Flip through photos of the post game celebration.
CB.com: How’s it been the last couple of weeks with Wyatt Teller now at right guard?
Tretter: It’s been good. I was just telling Joel, the more you can play with a guy, the easier it gets. Wyatt wasn’t here during OTAs and came here late during training camp, so you don’t get all of those reps. Now, the more reps you can get throughout the season -- we were rotating guys in so you still got to work with him -- but now you get to work with him every day. I think the meeting room time is so crucial to that, where you can sit with him, talk through calls, talk through what your expectations are, where he’s going to be. He’s one of the guys that just wants to work hard and always do the right thing. He’s been a great guy to work with.
Tretter: We had Nick for a while and now we have Kareem. It’s one of those things where we know with those guys if we can get them to the second level, there’s no telling what they can do with it. We’ve seen Nick run away from people, we’ve seen Nick run over people. Last week, we saw Nick carry three guys for 10 extra yards. Having both of those guys with that much power, speed, just the combination, it only helps us. We know if we can just get the main guys blocked, there’s not going to be many arm tackles that bring those guys down.
CB.com: Is there anything you do differently now for a Thursday night game than you might have in the past?
Tretter: Now, the more you experience them, you understand what you have to do physically to get ready and mentally to get ready. I’ve always said it’s more of a mental battle than a physical battle. There’s a lot of work you have to do throughout the week and you kind of lose three days. You kind of have to make up for all that work Monday, Tuesday and today and roll into the game tomorrow. I think the more you can understand what you need to be ready to play, the more efficient you are in your studying.
CB.com: Does it enter your head at all while you’re preparing for this game that you’re facing the Steelers again in two weeks?
Tretter: No, I don’t think so. Especially for us and where we’re at in the season, we have to take every game one game at a time and focus on winning this game and then reassess and move forward to the next week. Obviously we’ll be playing Pittsburgh after that, but I don’t think we can look too much ahead of whether it’s saving something or not showing something. We’ve got to win every game we play. That’s, in my eyes, where our focus needs to be.