After a rookie campaign that didn't unfold as planned, Browns offensive lineman Cameron Erving heard the criticism and read the headlines.
But with time to reflect between now and then, the 2015 first-round NFL Draft pick seems to have a chip on his shoulder as Cleveland continues its offseason workouts under first-year coach Hue Jackson.
"I always use stuff like that as motivation," said Erving, who met with reporters Tuesday afternoon. "I definitely had that in the back of my mind the whole offseason that I was training."
Such a frame of mind could prove valuable for the second-year player, as Erving figures to be one of several Browns on the roster eyeing an increased role in the coming months.
Erving, who started four games last year, said he's focused on playing center after a season in which he was asked to wear several hats along an offensive line that was defined by highs and lows. And against that backdrop, Erving, who bounced between three different spots on the offensive line as a rookie, begins something of a fresh start as the Browns on Tuesday start their voluntary veteran minicamp.
"I mean, we could say it hurt me but at the end of the day it was the hand I was dealt. I'm an NFL player and it's my job to adapt to whatever situation I'm put in," he said.
"I'm not going to sit here and say, yes, I was put into bad situations but I mean it wasn't the greatest circumstances but, at the end of the day, I don't blame the coaches, I don't play anybody. I blame myself for whatever happened to me, good or bad."
Erving said he took it upon himself to improve as a player in the offseason, calling his first year in the league a "learning experience" and a call to refine his technique in the trenches.
"I feel like I'm really strong right now. Last year, a lot of people may say I had strength issues, but I feel like it was more technical issues, me not having the right technique for what I was doing. I wasn't weak then," he said.
Erving, who said he weighs about 320 pounds right now and dropped 8 percent body fat during the offseason, is expected to compete for a starting role on the offensive line, which saw center Alex Mack and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz depart the team in free agency.
Replacing Mack, of course, is no small task. The former Brown was a Pro Bowl selection and one of the league's better offensive linemen.
Erving's trying to leave his own stamp on the position.
"You can't replace a guy like that," Erving said. "I mean, you can only come in and create your own identity and that's what I plan on doing."
Asked what that identity might be, Erving said he takes pride in being a "hard-nosed" player.
"I've always liked to play hard and physical. And I want to continue to bring that to the table," he said.
"But I have to be under better control, better technique and I just want to be a nasty player and that's what I've wanted to be and that's how I've always played — I've always played hard. No matter what the outcome may have been on that play, you can say I've always played hard. I don't care what it was."
While Erving played some center at Florida State, he said he's not getting ahead of himself as he continues to learn the finer points of the position and the ins and outs of the NFL.
"I have a pretty good knowledge of the game. It's just that, you can look at something on paper and you can look at something on film, and then you get on the field and it's totally different. So it's just taking it from the classroom to the field," Erving said.
"That's been the biggest part. I know football, just taking what's in the classroom and what's learned and putting it on the field and applying it."