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Chasing a Dream: TE Connor Hamlett turning heads in Browns training camp


"Chasing a Dream" is a recurring series on that profiles the rookies and other overlooked players on the roster who have beaten the odds in the past and look to do the same in the NFL.*

Connor Hamlett wasn't sure if he wanted to keep playing football. The Browns first-year tight end from Oregon State had his fair share injuries, mostly nagging knee issues that made him consider whether or not he could continue at the next level.

"I took some time off and just had to recover my body a little bit. It took a little convincing," Hamlett said Monday afternoon, "but my agent knew I was going to get a shot."

Hamlett's agent was right. The 6-foot-7 Washington native signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and joined Cleveland's practice squad last December.

Now, as the Browns prepare for their sixth day training camp Thursday, Hamlett has made something of a name for himself, turning heads in practice with his sticky hands and 6-foot-7 frame.

"He's done great. That guy is tall," head coach Hue Jackson said, laughing. "He's got long arms. You can kind of throw it up there and he goes and gets it. He's done a great job. I've been really pleased with him.

"One thing about him, the guy is really accountable. He's always here. He's always out here competing. I'm very, very impressed with the things he has done."

The Browns took to the practice fields for the fifth day of Training Camp on Tuesday.

Tight ends coach Greg Seamon echoed a similar sentiment, saying Hamlett is one of several candidates vying to be the No. 2 tight end behind the Pro Bowler and veteran Gary Barnidge.

"Connor is a long, tall, spidery guy with excellent hands. He's very smart," Seamon said.

"We'll see how it plays out. Right now, those jobs are available. What we're attempting to do in practice is give everybody enough repetitions at all the various spots so that when we get to the games, they can go in and show what they can do."

Before any of this, though, Hamlett needed to decide whether or not he wanted to keep playing football. He said he took a month out, but continued to work out and stay in shape. When he joined the Browns almost a year later following time with the Jaguars, Eagles and Saints, he approached his new start in Cleveland with a workmanlike attitude.

"I was just going out every day trying to do my job, just trying to stick around. I feel like I did well, practiced well at the end of last year and had a good spring," he said. "I'm just trying to do my job and do anything I can to help the team."

And now, he'll have a chance to do that in a potentially bigger role.

"I've always loved the game. I'm going to give it my all if I get a shot. I think that's what I've done with every team I've went to. I'm just going to keep doing that," Hamlett said.

"Teams have given me shots, and I feel like I haven't let them down yet."​

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