Corey Coleman couldn't help but notice the crowd of news reporters Monday surrounding rookie DeShone Kizer, whom the Browns named their starting quarterback for this fall less than 24 hours earlier. As he spoke at his own podium session a few feet away, he glanced over at the youngster several times and flashed a wide smile.
"That's my guy," Coleman said.
After all, the pair hit it off Saturday night in Tampa, connecting four times — including three times on third down — for 64 yards in a win over the Buccaneers that doubled as Kizer's first preseason start. Coleman, who has grown close with the former Notre Dame star, said he's excited to watch their bond grow this fall.
"We're trying to think one game at a time, we're trying to keep performing at a high level," he said, "but it can be a very bright future for both of us if we keep on doing what we need to do."
After missing most of OTAs with a hamstring injury, Coleman -- the team's first-round NFL Draft pick in 2016 -- looked impressive in his latest performance, making ridiculous catch after ridiculous catch.
It was the former Biletnikoff Award winner's best statistical outing since a breakout game against the Ravens last season in Week 2, when he caught six passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. And now, Coleman hopes he can keep that momentum — and chemistry with Kizer — rolling into the regular season.
"I'm getting back in the groove, feeling comfortable out there," said Coleman, who missed six games as a rookie with a broken hand.
As Kizer spoke at the podium next to him, however, he was focused less on himself and more on the 21-year-old who'll be throwing him passes this fall.
"We were just talking about our goals and stuff and it's just really exciting to see him," said Coleman, who said he trained with Kizer over the summer. "He's the starting quarterback now … just to see how he's taken all of it. We just talked about this, and it's crazy."
Much like head coach Hue Jackson — who praised Kizer for his growth since coming to Cleveland this spring — Coleman said the former Notre Dame star has made strides both on and off the field.
"He's really poised for him to be so young, tremendous leadership, the way he carries himself he's a true professional," he said. "That's my guy, I'm happy for him."
He added: "I'm excited for him. I'm just ready to see how far he keeps on going."