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Press Conference

Browns rookie press conferences - 5/4

Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:

·         LB Genard Avery

·         RB Nick Chubb

·         OL Austin Corbett

·         QB Baker Mayfield (full transcript)

·         DL Chad Thomas

·         DB Simeon Thomas

·         WR Damion Ratley

·         DB Denzel Ward (full transcript)

QB Baker Mayfield:

On the past week after the draft:

"It has been an exciting week. Now that the whole process of the draft evaluation and everything is over, knowing where I'll be living and I can get settled in here, it has been a settling feeling, like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders." 

On how long he will do the Behind Baker documentary:

"It is over. The last episode is gone and out. We are done with that one."

On the documentary:

"I thought it was great. It gave an inside look on the whole process. It was a good group to work with. I think if it would have been with anybody else, it would not have been successful. They knew that my schedule was busy, and they worked around that. The priority was never filming, it was not like that. They knew I had to get my stuff done, and I am glad that it is over." 

On 'immediately going to work like a walk-on,' and when does that end:

"Never. It does not. For me, it is a fresh start. Once you are drafted, it does not matter. I will just say this, in the team meeting, we talked about how it does not matter how you get here; everybody has the same opportunity. What are you going to do with it? What work are you going to put in to put yourself in the best position possible to play and make the roster? For me, that is something that I know how to do. I have been in this position before so I can only try to handle it the same and work harder."

On how it makes him feel being at the top many other NFL teams' draft boards' per reports:

"It is humbling, but I landed in the right spot. I am here now, not worried about who liked me during the process. I am going to work here for the Browns. I am a Cleveland Brown. I am proud and happy about that." On if he was reluctant about meeting with the Patriots pre-draft:

"Like I said about the last question, none of that matters. I am not anybody besides a Cleveland Brown. That is my mindset. I am not trying to help anybody out. It is not about me. It is about helping this team win right now."

On establishing a leadership role in Cleveland:

"I have to continue my strengths. Leadership is one of them. When you talk about that, it is about earning the respect of the guys in the locker room. The veterans, guys that have been doing it for a while, I have to earn their respect. You can't talk about it and earn their respect. You have to go to work. You have to put your time in. You have got to earn the playbook. When you get your opportunity, you have to show that you are there for a reason. That is how I do it with the veterans. With the rookies and everybody else here right now, I just have to be that guy in the locker room, be that guy that gets everybody going and show them that we are all here for a reason."

On where his leadership qualities come from:

"I think that I was just born with it. I think it is a passion for the game. I love winning. I love being the guy to help people out. If we win, it is on my shoulders, but if we lose, it is on my shoulders, and I would not want to have it any other way. I take that responsibility and I thrive on that."

On if there is a fine line in establishing his leadership with the rest of the team when the veterans join minicamp and QB Tyrod Taylor will be doing the same:

"It is not about individuals. They brought both him and me in because we are both team-oriented guys. He is the starter, and all I can do is help us out. When you get a guy like that, it helps out the locker room in just the best way possible. He is a grinder. He comes in early and he is the last one to leave. I can only aspire to be like that. It is not going to be something that separates the locker room. We are not going to be fighting over who is the man in the locker room. I am a team-oriented guy, and we just want to win."

On being in a QB competition at Oklahoma and how that applies to the NFL:

"It taught me patience. Human nature, yeah, I want to play – there is no doubt about that – but in whatever way I can make the team better and whatever way that I can grow and learn from whatever is happening, I need to do that. Talking about that year, I sat out and I got to go out against a great defense every day in practice. I learned from Coach Stoops, Bob and Mike because they are both defensive coaches, going up against them and learning what their tendencies were and how the thought. I can only work on myself."

On why he believes that he can help 'turn around a franchise':

"It is a mentality. It is a mentality that you are not going to take no for an answer. It does not matter what has happened in the past. It is about what are you going to do for it now. How are you working towards making this team better? It starts in the locker room, and that is why you bring in some of the guys that this franchise has been bringing in. You change the culture in the locker room, and you get some belief in it. We do not have to talk about it. We know what we have in there. We will just handle it from there."

On meeting OL Joe Thomas:

"I actually met him at the Super Bowl and did an interview with him on [Radio] Row. That is a living legend right there, a 10-time Pro Bowler. It does not get much better than that. Just a couple of words of advice – how to handle it, how to make sure that I focus on ball. This whole process is kind of crazy, but as long as you stay focused on what you are here for, you will be good."

On his interactions with Taylor:

"He has been around here. Like I said, he is the first one in and the last one to leave so it does not matter if he is here for actual practice. He was here last week when I came on my visit after the draft so I met him then. Just everything that I have heard, even when I went on my visit to the Bills, they said the same things about him. He is just an unbelievable guy. You see that, then you see him up here and actually how much he is up here, it is very transparent of who he is."

On who approached whom when he met Taylor:

"He came into (quarterbacks) Coach (Ken) Zampese's office so I guess he kind of snuck up on me (laughter)." 

On how Taylor was referenced on Mayfield's visit to Buffalo:

"Just the film. They had him playing quarterback for them so when you are watching the film, they talk about him and you have side conversations when you go through those meetings." 

On if Taylor is a reminder to Mayfield that guys of his size can compete in the NFL:

"I guess. At this point, it is not about size. It is about if you know your job, if you can do it and execute it, and it is about winning. He has that mentality. That is what it takes to turn a team around. That is what it takes to lead a team is a mentality of not taking no for an answer and doing whatever it takes to win."

On his introduction to Cleveland and Browns fans:

"It is an exciting feeling right now. There is a lot of buzz going around, which is great for the team. The one thing I keep hearing about is the loyalty of the fans, and I think about how they deserve a team that is winning, a team that they can rally behind. That is what they will do no matter what. I got a chance last night to be at a dinner with some of the veterans and some of the alumni, and they talked about it, as well. This franchise is built on winning. They have been winning in the past, and some of those guys set the tone. Right now, we are trying to get back to that."

On throwing out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game and if he would like a re-do:

"Football and baseball releases are a little bit different (laughter). Yes, I would love to. Thankfully, I was never a pitcher so we are good."

On what he played in baseball:

"Shortstop and third base. Anywhere in the infield, honestly."

On his football IQ and if that is one of his strengths:

"Football IQ, you can talk about it different ways. If you focus on knowing the game, which is what I had to do since I was never the biggest guy – I was a late bloomer – I tried to gain a mental edge. Whatever edge I could have over somebody else, I would try to do. That is what I was waiting for during the draft process was the meetings. Getting in, getting on the board, talking about our plays, talking about our offense and kind of showing the type of guy that I am. I do not know if I would call it a photographic memory but just being able to remember after you rep it a couple of times and stay true to it. It has to become second nature for you.  Fortunately enough, I have been able to have a lot of experience to where it is second nature." 

On playing in Cleveland and if he is a fan of Cavaliers F LeBron James:

"Obviously, he is one of the greatest athletes to ever play sports in general. I am excited to be here. Hopefully, I will get a chance to go watch him play, but right now, my focus is on football."

On the playbook:

"I have the full playbook, but right now they kind of separated it. You have a rookie minicamp playbook. They kind of separate it so you are not completely overwhelmed. Right now, I am just trying to do my best to get it down to where when we go out on the field I can command those guys and be the guy that they can ask questions and bounce stuff off of."

On his training plan during the off period prior to training camp:

"Not sure. Have to find a place to live here. That is a priority, too. It does not matter where I am, putting myself in the best position possible going into OTAs and going into camp to where I can stay healthy and that I am ready to go compete. Right now, it is about leveling the playing field. I have got to catch up on the playbook. I have got to catch up on the mental side of this game to where I can come into camp, and it is just about competing."

On why this rookie class can help turn the franchise around:

"I think our group of guys, no disrespect to the past classes or anybody else, but I think our group of guys is excited. I think you get a bunch of guys that have chips on their shoulders that come from winning programs that know how to do it, that know how to put the work in to get the results out of it, when you do that, you get a good mixture of guys that I think the result will be pretty good."

On why he did not work with prominent QB gurus the pre-draft process:

"I am not a QB guru kind of guy. I do not think you can re-invent the wheel. I think that the ones that have been through it and have played the game are the ones that I would definitely bounce the most questions off of. For me, it is about perfecting my craft. I need to learn this playbook. It is not about going somewhere on a beach and doing a beach workout. It is about learning this playbook, being able to play in the weather and be a good teammate."

On the best advice he has received since being drafted:

"I have heard a bunch of things from very important people, including Mr. (General Manager John) Dorsey, just about staying ready to go. This whole process, you are doing different types of workouts. From the combine prep, then you do a lot of mental stuff, to where you are not doing a lot of those workouts that you would want to. You have to be ready to jump into camp and hit the field running. You do not need time to catch up. You have got to be ready to go."

On if he has ever needed to make significant adjustments to his mechanics:

"No. For me, it has always been just if you are able to throw, then throw. It is not always something you can teach. For me, it has always been about getting a quicker release and being able to throw from different angles. That has helped me out. Not being the tallest guy, I have to do that. You have to find windows and have to find lanes to throw in. Those are the things that I work on."

On meeting former NFL QB Chad Pennington:

"He was at the Senior Bowl, and we sat through meetings. He is a part of the NFL Legends community. Whatever they can do to help players now because they have all been through it, they will. Fortunately enough, I have a guy like him that played quarterback and has been through it with different teams and has played a lot of ball. At the Combine, within my group, he was my guy and was just around him a bunch, got his number and talked to him and bounced a lot of things off of him, but he said the same things about when you get there, go to work. The things that have gotten you here obviously have worked for you, but do not let it stop now. You have not made it yet. That is the mentality you have to have. It does not matter where I got drafted, you have to start over."

On where he honed his QB mechanics:

"I have always played baseball, always been able to throw. When I decided to play football, when my parents let me play football, I had already been playing baseball for a while. Through the community, they knew that I could throw the ball. When I got drafted to my Pop Warner team, the coach asked me if I wanted to play quarterback, and I said sure, why not? Delusionally, I thought I was a running back or wide receiver, though (laughter)."

On the throwing the baseball from third base:

"You have got to be quick. You have got to be quick on the hot corner, that is for sure."

On his parents 'finally letting' him play football:

"They just did not want me starting too early. Talk about kids sports nowadays, they are pretty crazy. For how young they are, the 'daddy ball' or whatever you want to call it, you get dads that are way too invested in Pop Warner or youth leagues. They just kind of kept me separate from football for a while, and it was the best decision. I could play in the back yard or at recess, it did not matter. Just the first time that I did it organized."

On how old he was when he first played organized football:

"Fifth grade. In Texas, I guess that is kind of late (laughter)."

On if he plays golf:

"Not very good so probably not. I would say no."

DB Denzel Ward:

On if he attended Browns games growing up:

"Yeah, I did actually attend a couple of Browns games when I was really younger. As I went to college, I did not have as much time to get back and get to any football games."

On playing in a Browns uniform for the first time:

"It was exciting. I am glad to finally get the draft process and everything over with and get here and start playing football."

On the past week after being drafted:

"It has been exciting. I went back to Ohio State and back to my apartment. I have just been getting some workouts in at Ohio State and just kind of getting prepared for when I get here. Now, I am here ready to work."

On if he watched former Browns and Steelers DB Joe Haden:

"Yeah, I watched Joe Haden. I watched a lot of guys – Joe Haden, (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson – I watch all of those guys. I try to take bits and pieces from everybody's game. I really watch everybody."

On his family's reaction to being drafted by the Browns:

"They are excited. They are glad that I am coming home. I can go back home and get a home cooked meal so they are excited about that."

On if he has looked at the teams and receivers he will face this upcoming season:

"Yes, I have. It will definitely be a challenge, but I am definitely looking forward to it. Have to get prepared and to get in the playbook. I am ready to go to work, though. I think that I will be ready."

On the lessons he has learned playing at Ohio State:

"I would say definitely having a routine. Being at Ohio State, (Head) Coach (Urban) Meyer and all of those guys, they prepared us with getting in a routine. It kind of helped me be successful there at Ohio State. I definitely intend to bring that on here to Cleveland."* *

On having a different approach to playing man defense technique and if the coaching staff has addressed that:

"Not yet. Definitely at Ohio State they did teach us to play our man. In zones, that is where we are going to get our interceptions. That is when we play the ball and read the quarterback."

On if he is looking forward to learning a new technique:

"Yeah, I am always looking forward to being taught something new and improving my game."

On his goals during rookie minicamp:

"Really, I am just trying to learn the playbook as soon as possible. The install today has just really been learning the defense and getting with the guys and getting out there and practicing."

On defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:

"He definitely seems like a very passionate coach. He reminds me a little bit of (former Ohio State cornerbacks coach) Coach (Kerry) Coombs. I am definitely excited to be working with him."

On what he enjoys about Williams' defensive style:

"I am really just starting to learn the defense. We only put in two defenses today. There is nothing really new. They run different plays differently, but it is kind of the same as Ohio State, though."

On if he was a Cleveland Cavaliers fan growing up:

"Yeah, I am a Cavs fan. I am a (Cavaliers F) LeBron (James) fan, as well." 

On if he plans on going to a Cavaliers game:

"Oh yeah, I definitely have to make a game. Have to make a playoff game."

On his expectations entering the NFL after several Ohio State players have had success:

"There is definitely a high expectation, coming from Ohio State and all of those guys being able to produce in the league. It is not about getting to the NFL. It is about what you do once you are here."

On if he has spoken with former Ohio State DBs, specifically Saints DB Marshon Lattimore:

"Yeah, I talk to those guys like every day."

On what he has spoken about with Lattimore:

"Just asking me how the process is going. Telling me to make sure I stay focused and learn the playbook."

On his mental preparation for NFL receivers in the near future:

"There are obviously a lot of talented players in the NFL, and there are going to be a lot of talented players that I am going to go against. Like you said, it is all about the preparation going into that week of whoever I am going to be playing."

On if he would have preferred to have a couple of games under his belt before facing the best WR in the league in Week 1, referring to Steelers WR Antonio Brown:

"No sir. It is the NFL. The talent is going to be there. You just have to come ready to play."

On if would he consider himself a 'shutdown corner':

"I feel that I was depended upon to be a shutdown corner at Ohio State. Being here in the NFL, now I have to prove myself to be that type of player."

On if he has confidence he can contribute more interceptions in the NFL:

"Yes, I definitely feel that I have pretty good hands, and I will be able to get some interceptions if I get my hands on it."

On if he will spend more time on the JUGGS machine than in the past:

"I spent time on the JUGGS back at Ohio State, as well, but I definitely intend to do that here."

On the biggest difference between college and the NFL from his first day:

"I would say a lot longer meetings – a lot longer meeting time, definitely."

On if Lattimore has 'set the bar high' for him:

"Definitely. I am glad he did. It gave me something to push towards."

On if his style of play in college is attributed to his low interception total:

"I got a lot of hands on some balls at Ohio State. I feel like I just have to get that second hand through and pick the ball off next time."

On if he expects to be a Week 1 starter:

"That is up to the coaches really. I am just here to do whatever they need me to do, if that is running down on kickoff or playing special teams. Just getting anywhere to make my mark, really."

On plans for his first NFL paycheck:

"Do something for my mom probably."

On what he would get his mother:

"I do not know yet. I have to ask her." 

On if his mother still lives in Macedonia, Ohio:


On his 'script for the next 365 days' if he had the opportunity to write it:

"I can't 100 percent tell you a script because I do not know the future. I am really just going with the flow and learning the playbook and getting with the coaches. I can't really tell you that right now."

On if there is additional pressure being from the local area:

"Playing college football at Ohio State, you are viewed by everyone around the world. I do not really fall into too much pressure with media or people watching the game. I have my own goals, and that is really the pressure that I have on myself are the goals that I have set in place and the goals I plan on accomplishing."

On who will handle his ticket requests:

"My mom will do that (laughter)."

LB Genard Avery:

On his introduction to the Cleveland Browns:

"I know a lot of things about the Browns. (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) Jim Brown, he started a tradition here. We want to lead it on. There are a lot of players that created a platform for us to keep going. They are leading the way, and we are just trying to change this organization around."

On which LB position he is currently playing:

"I am at the WILL spot right now. I am getting to learn that position and all of that."

On where he played in college:

"I played D end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker. We ran a 4-3 and a 3-4 defense so it was all a big wash."

On defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:

"A great guy, very intense. He is a good person. He means a lot. He just wants the best for this organization."

On if Williams has had the defense do any up-downs yet:

"No, we have not yet, but I know that we will."

On if there is a big difference between a college playbook and an NFL system:

"It is not a big difference. It is just a transition of words because everybody teaches it different. I have a whole new coaching staff so I have to learn their terminology."

RB Nick Chubb:

On his first practice as a Cleveland Brown:

"Excited to get out here for the first time with the new teammates and just kind of get the feel for everything."

On his start in Cleveland:

"It has been good. I came in yesterday morning and kind of got adjusted and [did] all of the medical stuff and dinner stuff. Today was more about football, and that is why we are here. Just excited." 

On if he has set goals for this year:

"I have not."

On the biggest change from walkthroughs in college to the NFL:

"I am new here so I do not know the system that well. Things were moving pretty fast during walkthrough. That is probably the biggest difference."

On what will be the biggest adjustment to the NFL:

"I am not sure yet. I really have not gotten a feel for what the NFL is. I feel like Georgia definitely prepared me for whatever comes. I am ready. I am ready to do whatever."

On offensive coordinator Todd Haley's message to him:

"We really have not gotten into anything deep yet. His message is to come out here and play fast and take advantage of every opportunity you have." 

On Head Coach Hue Jackson's message to the rookie minicamp team:

"Just come out here and show what you got. Come out here and play fast and play smart. Do everything right so that he can better your opportunity for whatever comes."

OL Austin Corbett:

On his confidence level coming into the NFL:

"Just playing four years and going through it, you pick up things and you get more confident with what you are doing, your technique and your skill. At the same time, you are going to have to re-learn football and get to the NFL level. Having that confidence to be able to go out there and do it is great, but you are still going to have to re-learn. It does not matter where you are or what team you are with, it is a different sport. It is the next level. Knowing that and having my abilities, it will be a little bit easier, but at the same time, I know that it is nowhere near enough."

On first impressions of offensive line coach Bob Wylie:

"He is awesome. I sat down with him at the combine and had a great interview with him. Now, the day that I have been here, it is awesome. He is just a great guy, a great coach. Everything that I have been taught in the past, I have heard in some way what he is saying. My coaches have been listening to him that I have had in the past. To know where they were getting it from and hearing it from, it is awesome. I just can't wait to learn more with him."

On the introductory dinner with veterans and Browns alumni:

"It was really good just getting around those guys in that setting. It kind of takes the stress off of when you first get in that, 'Alright, it is time.' Just to get in and meet current players, as well as the legends, just being around guys who have helped build this and the culture that they have established here. It is so hard to show your appreciation for those guys and everything that they have done. It truly just was an honor to be there." 

On rejoining fellow former Nevada OL Joel Bitonio in Cleveland:

"I saw him last night at the dinner. I was able to talk to him, and he told me that he can't show favoritism out here. I understand."

DL Chad Thomas:

On the bond at Miami:

"It is really strong. You can't break it. It does not matter who comes in and coaches for us or how you feel. Once a Cane, always a Cane."

On the preparation from Miami translating to the NFL:

"(Miami Head) Coach (Mark) Richt, team-wise, just everybody who has been there, Coach Richt knows that I know how to work and that I know how to be a leader. Just keep it going and get better at it. Listen first, before I talk. Think before I act. Simple stuff that he reminded me."

On defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and playing in his system:

"Just learning about it. You can tell in just having one meeting with him last night that I already know what time it is – time to work.

On the introductory dinner Thursday night:

"It was great – seeing all of the legends and just seeing how passionate they are about Cleveland. It is going to trickle down. I already have that passion in me for football. The City of Cleveland is just going to work."

DB Simeon Thomas:

On his first NFL practice

"First practice was not like a college practice. It felt different in the atmosphere. It is definitely life changing being out here"

On what makes the practice different than college:

"Just the speed. Our walkthroughs in college, we really walked. We are in cleats out here. It is just a different feel about everything." 

On what he heard leading up to the draft:

"You hear everything now and then. At that moment, it is like elevator music. You hear it playing but you can't really see who it is. When I did get that call, it was like, 'Wow.' My heart dropped when I got that call."

On his pre-draft interactions with the Browns, and if he knew that they would select him:

"I was not on everybody's draft board like that. When I came in on my pre-draft visit, (defensive coordinator) Coach (Gregg) Williams, all he told me was, 'You are here on a pre-draft visit so somebody will like you."

On if he has ever played S before:

"Never played safety, but if I have to play safety, anything for the team."

WR Damion Ratley:

On his first NFL walkthrough:

"It was great. The biggest thing is getting in here and getting the playbook down, studying whenever you have a chance. Just get in the playbook and just get it down. Once you get it down, it is just playing football. I think that is the biggest thing for me, getting the playbook down."

On the coaching staff:

"(Wide receivers coach) Coach (Adam) Henry is a cool dude. Really fun to talk to and a really good coach. I really have not been coached by him yet, but by how he talks in the meeting room since I have been in there, he is a pretty good coach. I just can't wait to get coached by him."

On the getting drafted last week and joining the Browns:

"It is great. I love it. I love every single bit of it. I am so grateful that they called my name and I was able to come here. It is a blessing. There are a lot of people that do not get to do this. One percent of all athletes get to do this so just taking it in and taking advantage of it. I am loving every single bit of it."

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