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Candid, genuine Freddie Kitchens shows signs he's settling into new role

Freddie Kitchens is in a rare position right now. 

He's a first-time head coach, which isn't all that rare. But he's also the head coach of a team that is suddenly a favorite to secure a division (the AFC North) it hasn't won since it owned a different name (AFC Central), more than 20 years ago.

That would put him in exclusive company with the post-1999 Browns.

He's also an unlikely riser from position coach to head coach, with nothing more than an interim stop at the coordinator level. When he was introduced as the new coach of the Browns, he was open and honest. He wasn't quite presidential in his responses.

Two and a half months later, it's clear he's starting to get his footing as the new man in charge of the Browns.

Kitchens answered questions at a table adorned with a sign bearing his name and the Browns' logo Tuesday, and while he was honest as always, he was also packing a little humor. Despite a whirlwind start to the new league year, Kitchens is getting comfortable, and it showed in how he cracked jokes in response to select questions.

When asked about the obvious pressure that comes with heightened expectations, Kitchens gave a fantastic smattering of sarcasm, starting with the potential for multiple primetime games:

"I am scared to death of all those. I mean I really am. I don't know how I'm going to deal with it. I really don't know if I'm ready for this job. I really don't, man."

"Like I told them, it scares me to death. I'm just kidding. Don't write that."

On the first thing he'll say to Odell Beckham when they meet:

"Uh, I love you? Like show me how to catch the ball with one hand? I don't know. Just introduce myself and get to know him as a person." 

When asked if he's asked other head coaches for advice on being a head coach with expectations: 

"I have not. Should I? But no, I haven't. I've been a part of other teams that have high expectations."

On if he's going to be able to handle the big personalities on his team:

"Am I not a big personality? I mean hell, I think I'm a pretty big personality. I'm just kidding." 

On if being a head coach has changed him:

"Has very much changed for me? No. I went to confession the other night, the day of confession during Lent, and the priest knows not much has changed for me. So I don't think it's changed very much."

On how he prepared his speech to his players at the start of organized team activities:

"I was gonna start Sunday night. No, I'm kidding."

There were also funny quips that didn't require sarcasm, like this response to a question asking if Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Beckham were like dynamite:

"I hope so, and I hope we blow a bunch of stuff up." 

Even when things turned serious, when he laid out a hypothetical scenario in which a man's wife has left him in order to demonstrate actual pressure and then was asked if he'd been in such a situation, he brought the needle right back to the middle:

"No, my wife is still here, I think." 

The story sounded like a country song:

"Yeah, I listen to country music for a reason. Most of all those songs it seems like was written for me."

And to cap it off, an outpouring of love from the coach:

"We have a great city. I love Cleveland. I wasn't blowing smoke … when I told you that. I love Cleveland."

Voice of the Browns Jim Donovan mentioned Tuesday during Cleveland Browns Daily that the city has yearned for a Browns coach it truly loved. 

If there's anything off the field Kitchens will give you, it's his honest side. Should his work turn into wins, he'll quickly become a favorite in Cleveland.