Skip to main content


Browns LB Christian Kirksey making good on offseason of hard work, preparation

Christian Kirksey spoke of preparing like a starter this past spring. Now, the Browns inside linebacker has the chance to earn that mantle on the field.

"Chris has played with a lot of energy and he brings a lot of energy to the group and to the defense and that's what you need to play great defense," inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland said Tuesday afternoon.

"And he's one of those guys that the sky's the limit for him. I'm expecting him to have a lot of accolades this year as a person and a player."

As the Browns prepare for their fifth day of training camp, Kirksey is poised to play a key role on a new-look defense under Ray Horton. The third-year linebacker from Iowa approached offseason expectation with a "nobody's spot is written in stone" mentality and refused to assume he'd be handed a starting job come August.

"Everybody might be saying, 'Oh yeah man, you're the next starter' this and that, I kind of block that out just so it won't dampen my work ethic," he said in April. "I just feel like everything's up for grabs so I'm going to keep playing hard, keep practicing hard and keep training hard."

Kirksey is making the most of that preparation in camp, especially the past few days, which have been highlighted by blaring sirens that indicate when a live tackling session is about to begin.

"We got the chance to see what guys are made of. Once you run around with just shirts and pants, you really can't tell how hard a guy is, how tough a guy is, how physical a guy is," he said.

"It's good to see our defense move around, hit people, show the physicality. It was just an overall good practice. We have got things to work on, but it's the first day."

In these periods, Kirksey has seemed to thrive, whether it's chasing down running backs or dropping back into coverage.

"Chris is blessed with a lot of athletic ability for sure and just what I've seen from Chris from last year, he didn't get a lot of playing time but Chris — they say he wasn't as physical as they would like — I think Chris is a physical player and he's got the ability to come downhill and bump," Holland said. "He doesn't shy away from contact, he can cover tight ends, running backs, he's going to be a great asset to our group and our defense."

With Kirksey's size and speed, Horton — whom head coach Hue Jackson described as a "mad scientist" — could use him in a number of different roles, though it's still too early to determine what they might be.

"(Ray Horton is) smart. He knows what he is doing. As you can look down the history of him being a defensive coordinator with his defenses, they've been a top-10 defense with him being in charge," Kirksey said.

"I could see him using me in whatever way he needs me to do. Right now, I'm grasping the playbook to a T, just running around in camp trying to figure out where my strong point is going to be.

"We'll see where it takes me."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content