Quarterback Case Keenum is back with Kevin Stefanski, just a few years removed from the veteran signal-caller's career-best season that took the Vikings to the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
Keenum on Tuesday signed a three-year deal with the Browns, giving the team a reliable, eight-year veteran with 62 starts behind starter Baker Mayfield.
"Case has been a backup in this league, he's been a starter in this league. He understands as a backup how it's your job to support the starter and be ready to play in a moment's notice," Stefanski said. "Bottom line is we're adding a really smart, tough football player in that room."
Keenum comes to Cleveland after one season in Washington, where he started eight games and finished with 1,707 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Browns are Keenum's fourth team in as many seasons.
Keenum's best season was 2017 in Minnesota, when he worked closely with Stefanski, who was the team's quarterbacks coach, and started 14 games for the NFC North champion Vikings. He completed a career-best 67 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. The Vikings went 13-3 and defeated the Saints in the NFC Divisional Round thanks to Keenum's miraculous, 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as time expired.
"Coach Stefanski, I can't say enough good things about him. I love him to death. Great friend, his family is incredible," Keenum said. "I'm really, really excited he's got an opportunity to go and lead an organization as great as the Cleveland Browns. It will be his first shot as a head coach and I'm excited to be a part of what he's going to build there."
Check out photos of quarterback Case Keenum
After his memorable season in Minnesota, Keenum signed with the Broncos in 2018 and started all 16 games, completing 62 percent of his passes for a career-high 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Keenum threw for a whopping 19,217 yards during a memorable career at the University of Houston, including three separate seasons of more than 5,000 through the air. He entered the NFL in 2012 as an undrafted free agent with the Texans. He started 10 games over three seasons in Houston before joining the Rams for the 2015-16 seasons. Keenum started 14 games over two seasons, throwing for a combined 3,029 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
"I think Case is somebody that's seen it all and been through it all in his time as an NFL quarterback," Stefanski said. "I think the experiences he brings can be great for our team as a whole. I think he knows this system having played in it under coach (Gary) Kubiak when he broke into the league in Houston and obviously I have experience coaching him with the Vikings. I'm really excited about bringing Case the person into this group. He's the son of a football coach, he's a grinder, he's a gym rat, so I think he'll fit perfectly into the mentality we're trying to build."
Keenum joins a Browns quarterbacks room that is led by Mayfield, a captain in 2019 who enters his third season as the team's starter, and Garrett Gilbert. Drew Stanton, a longtime veteran who was with the team in 2018-19, is a free agent.
"Baker reached out as soon as the news broke, which really meant a lot to me," Keenum said. "I've got a lot of respect for him for what he's done on the field and off the field, too. First and foremost, I know my role coming in. That's another great positive for me. I'm going to be ready to play. I feel like I've played at a high level for the last three years."