Press Conference

DeShone Kizer and Larry Ogunjobi Press Conference - 4/29


Opening statement:**

Vice President of communication Peter John-Baptiste:"Before we get started with our second press conference with our new Cleveland Brown members. First off, we have (Notre Dame QB) DeShone's parents – this is Mindy and Derek (Kizer). Then we have Faith (sister); Masa and Larry (Ogunjobi), Larry's (Ogunjobi) parents."

On Kizer's emotions receiving the call from the Browns:

Kizer:"There are quite a few emotions, mostly excitement. It was obviously a pretty long weekend heading over to Philly and being in the green room was awesome, but then to come back and share that moment with my family was unbelievable. When I saw that 440 area code come through, I was pretty excited."

On what element of his game he needs to improve the most:

Kizer:"I think it is just simplifying and taking the adjustments I have made in the last two months and making sure they correlate with (quarterbacks) Coach (David) Lee and (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson. There are some footwork things that I need to clean up and I know they have the answer for. I am excited to work with them and make those proper adjustments."

On his path to playing football:

Ogunjobi:"Long story short, I was 350 pounds. My parents, they said I was getting too fat so they took away my game system. They got me a coach. He trained me for a couple months. Long story short, I went from 350 to 247 in a year, bulked up to 262 for my junior year and 267 for my senior year. I kind of turned my life around, and I have my parents to thank."

On his mom insisting he play football:

Ogunjobi:"It was an interesting conversation. I was in the car with my coach, Robert Mitchell. He took me to high school. I asked him what we were doing here. He said, 'Larry, you are going to play football,' and I said 'No, I'm not.' He was like, 'Yes, you are,' and I was like, 'No, I'm not.' He got a permission slip from the lady at the front desk. He took it to my mom. My mom signed it and I was on the football field that Saturday."

On when he fell in love with football:

Ogunjobi:"It was after my sophomore season. I got most improved JV player. It seems like a small award, but that was the first time in my life where I felt like I actually earned something that I worked for. It made me realize that football was something I could really do."

On his first thought stepping onto the football field:

Ogunjobi:"My first thought was, 'Man, this is hard' (laughter). As I began to start to understand the game and play more and started making some plays and understood the big picture, it started to become something I love."

On if he watched football prior to playing:

Ogunjobi:"I played Madden (laughter). I watched it every now and then, but my biggest thing was once I got into it, that is when I really started to immerse myself in the game."

On his favorite video game in high school:

Ogunjobi:"It was an XBOX so Halo was really popular and Call of Duty was really important back then, but that was a long time ago."

On Kizer's conversations with Jackson this weekend:

Kizer:"About how much work needs to go into these next couple of months. I think there is a clear message that the playbook is pretty big. I am going to have to dive into it if I am going to have any opportunity to try to compete early and to just take it day by day, to truly relax and exhale after this pre-draft process to make sure that the next couple of months go the way they need to."

On what was going through Kizer's mind after leaving the green room on Thursday night:

Kizer:"There was a lot of emotion at that time. I was obviously disappointed as a competitor that I am. I would have liked to go on the first day, but at the same time, to walk out that green room was an honor. To be considered one of the top guys respected as one of the top prospects was amazing. My family had a great time, but I knew I wanted to get back and also be able to experience the next couple days with just my family and to take away the cameras and the media and to truly enjoy the moment."

On if Kizer has run through the possible scenario of being on the field early in his career:

Kizer:"Absolutely. As soon as they made that call, the first thing you think of is having that jersey on, that orange helmet and being able to compete and becoming an asset as quickly as I possibly can to this team. At the same time, there is a lot of work so those thoughts of having that orange helmet quickly turn over to how fast can I get into that playbook and learn as much as I possibly can."

On if the NFL was ever a thought for Ogunjobi while playing as a freshman in college who just started playing:

Ogunjobi:"I think it was always was in the back of my mind, but we began to move up in competition and started playing bigger schools. When I first got recruited to go to Charlotte, their pitch was, 'We are going to play FBS in two years and we are going to move up.' That was an opportunity for me that I could move up against the so-called best competition and put myself on the map. Yeah, it was. I did have it in the back of my mind."

On what comes to Kizer's mind after not being picked in the first round:

Kizer:"That I am in the right place for a reason and God always has a plan and His plan is in action now. After spending as much time as I was able to spend with (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Sashi (Brown) and the other coaches here, there is an obvious correlation in the relationship that we were able to create that was good for me. When I saw that opportunity to go coming up at No. 52 pick, I was more than excited to know that there was a chance that I was going to be able to be a Cleveland Brown. When that call came through, it all came to fruition."

On how the pressure of being the starting quarterback at Notre Dame will help his transition:

Kizer"I think it is really my biggest asset being the quarterback of Notre Dame. As far as a stage at the college level gets, I don't know if there's one bigger. Representing something a lot bigger than yourself is one concept, but when you are doing it at an international level with a fan base that truly expands all over the word, it was an honor and privilege. Now, I will be able to pull from those experiences to see if I can take that and apply it to the professional level here in Cleveland.

On how the pressure shaped Kizer:

Kizer:"It also really made me find myself in a sense that I always have to be the same guy every day, whether it is in front of 80,000 at Notre Dame or at an away game where there are not many people there. You have to be the same guy. In order to be a good leader and to push the same message, you have to be able to stay poised through the ups and downs of a responsibility like that."

On if other people who doubted him will motivate him at this level:

Kizer"My motto has always been win from within so rather than being a pre-draft speculation of me, I'm always going to motivate myself. I'm my biggest critic and the standard that I set for myself will always be higher than any standard anyone else sets for me. Moving forward, it is just going to be me competing with myself to become the best quarterback I can possibly become."

On if Kizer knowing he was a highly regarded NFL draft prospect last fall was a burden or a distraction:

Kizer"I don't think it was a distraction. I knew there was going to be an opportunity for me to play at the next level, but at the same time, we were going through so much as a team that the only thing I could focus on was trying to go 1-0 that week. I wouldn't say it was a distraction at the time, but definitely in the back of my mind, I knew there would be an opportunity. "

On Ogunjobi's weight transformation:

Ogunjobi:  "(Kizer) said it best – it's God, man. I just have been blessed to be in this position. I know what it's like to start form the ground up. It is like you become a veteran just to become a rookie again. It is interesting, but I'm just blessed. It has been a really good transformation to see the hard work and long hours pay off."

On if it is accurate that Kizer's coaching was toughest from his dad:

Kizer:"That is. He coached me in basketball from the day I could walk all the way up until high school, where he wasn't allowed to coach me anymore. Those experiences are experiences that I will pull from forever. Those car rides home after tough games were tough. From that, I have been able to take hard coaching, and I have been able to figure out what pushes me to be the best player I can become and that is hard coaching. When I knew I had the opportunity to play for a guy like Coach Jackson, it is definitely going to be a situation in which he is going to push me to those same standards my dad holds me to and I hold to myself. "

On if he would also describe himself as a basketball player after playing with some big names during AAU:

Kizer: "Not anymore. I used to be pretty good, but now I can't hang with some of these guys. The AAU team I was a part of and organizations I was able to play with consist of guys like DeAngelo Russell, Tyler Ulis, Mark Loving and Nigel Hayes. The class above me in Northwest Ohio was one that was pretty good. We had Jackson Lamb who ended up playing baseball at Michigan, and Mark Loving was a four-year starter at Ohio State and Nigel Hayes is now headed to the NBA so I was competing against those guys growing up."

On if having an opportunity to develop during his rookie season will be helpful, given the Browns' stating they aren't going to force it at QB, despite the history of the team's QB struggles:

Kizer "I think in this last year and more importantly in these last couple months, having knowledge on how much room for growth there is and to be going into a system in which everyone also acknowledges that around me and is not expecting me to come in and be some all-star right away is pretty cool because I know I can learn a lot. Obviously, the history here at the quarterback position is one that's been recognized from quite a few people and I'm just looking to do whatever I can to become a help to that. I don't know whether that means competing with the guy next to me and pushing him or playing myself, but I'm going to do whatever I can do to contribute to this team as much as I can."

On Notre Dame Head Football Coach Brian Kelly's aggressive coaching style:

Kizer:"That's what pushes me. As I'm walking to the sideline, there is no one more upset at a bad play than me, but obviously, being met by him definitely makes me recognize it a little more. What people don't see is after that 10 seconds of him coaching me hard there was so great dialogue in which we were able to make corrections and go back out and have a successful drive after that.

On if Kelly's outbursts on the sideline were as bad as they appeared on TV:

Kizer:"Not really. His blood pressure gets going and he looks a little bit redder, but there are actually some good things I was able to take.

On if Kizer has heard from Kelly recently:

Kizer:"HE was at the draft with me over in Philly, and we enjoyed that experience together. He shot me a text yesterday, congratulating me on my situation."

On being prepared for a passionate Browns fans:

Kizer: "The responsibility of being a quarterback at Notre Dame, I think, covers all of that. In that last year or two and a half years, I was able to see a little bit of everything. The experience of having some success in 2015 and then not having so much success in 2016 is the one that allowed me to see it all from every perspective. Now going back and reflecting both of those seasons, I will be able to hopefully pull from all of that for the next couple of years now and make sure that I can do whatever it takes to get back to winning the way I know how.

On Kizer's relationship with former NFL QB Brady Quinn and consulting him about his experience with the Browns:

Kizer:"We don't have a great relationship – we may have met once or twice and he has shot me a couple of texts – but I definitely understand his situation and will use him as an asset to me to try to figure out how to have some success, a little more than he had when he was here.

On what Ogunjobi would do if not playing football, given his coursework:

Ogunjobi: "Probably medicine. I would probably go to school to become an oncologist. My grandfather passed away from prostate cancer in 2007. That has always been a big part of my life was trying to figure out how I can be a better person because one thing that my parents had always taught me was that life is bigger than you and you have to treat people as such. That is one of my big causes."

On Ogunjobi's normal attendance for his college games:

Ogunjobi:"About 15,000 give or take. Some schools [in the conference] are bigger."

On Kizer handling the possibility of playing as a rookie:

Kizer:"I would be pretty excited. I would prepare as hard as possibly I can. The ultimate goal for me is to be able to contribute to this team as much as much as I possibly can as early as I possibly can. If that comes from me playing early, I would be more than happy to take on that role."

On if pre-draft perception of Kizer bothered him at all:

Kizer:"No, I think that at Notre Dame there is a target on your back at all times so there is perceptions coming from everywhere. When you go to a school where 50 percent of the world hates you and 50 percent of the world loves you, you learn to see right through it and focus in on yourself."

On being coached by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:

Ogunjobi: "I'm excited. It is an amazing opportunity, especially when you have a guy like that in your room that is going to bring that energy and that enthusiasm to every meeting and every practice. I feel like that is awesome. You come in with open arms and an open mind, and you make the most of your situation so I'm really excited."

On Ogunjobi speaking with kids who are experienced what he did:

Ogunjobi:"I think the biggest thing is being able to use myself as an example and allow people to see that it is not where you start; it is where you finish. You can always put your best foot forward and get what you need to get done, done. I would love to go out and talk to kids and let them understand that you don't have to be a victim of their situation that they are currently in and that they can find a way to reach out and really make something special out of themselves because they are. I would love to do that."

On learning from Notre Dame's 2016 season and the pre-draft process:

Kizer: "The biggest thing I have learned is how much goes into winning. A lot of people think that it is all talent and it is all situation based, but there is a lot that has to do with culture and environment. As a natural leader in a position of leadership, I know how much goes into trying to make sure the guys around you are put into the best positions they could possibly be to be successful. Quite frankly, I really haven't set certain things that I'm going to be able to pull from that. I think those things will come as I continue to grow here. Being able to reevaluate a new locker-room and being around new teammates and seeing where the energy is here and where the environment is here and taking from the things that Coach (Hue) Jackson is preaching here and see how the culture is going here to see what it is going to take from me to apply myself to their situation to see what I can do to get back to winning."

On competing and trying to start right away:

Kizer:"Being the competitor that I am, I think that the best way to go out and contribute is to be playing yourself so I am going to be doing whatever I can to learn as fast as I can and as quickly as I can to play. That is the reason you play football is to play and not to sit around and watch from the sidelines. I will do whatever it takes to contribute as quickly as I can."

On potentially playing head-to-head against Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky and Texans QB Deshaun Watson this season:

Kizer: "What I learned about this whole draft process is that it is not when you went, it is about where you go. I truly believe that this is the best situation for me. I look forward to playing against those guys. I have made good friends out of them. Deshaun Watson and I have been great friends growing up and went through the whole college experience together in the sense that we have been connected since 2015. Being able to play against him will be an honor and a privilege but I just look forward to seeing what I can do here and how quickly I can learn this offense here."

On Kizer's quote of 'why not me' of being one of the greatest QBs that ever lived:

Watson:"Absolutely. That's the reason that we all do what we do is to be the best we can possibly be. At the same time, I have quickly acknowledged how much work is going to go into that. I look forward to now having the resources in front of me to get to that. You can say it all and do as many media things as you want, but until you have a playbook in front of you, you can't go out and play."

On other AFC North teams having prototypical division QBs and playing in the cold and climate of the AFC North:

Kizer:"This is a division and an area in the country where you have to be tough, you have to be big, you have to have big hands and you have to be able to play in different weather conditions. That is something that I have been doing my whole life. Football to me is meant to be played in the cold. It is meant to be played in the mud. If you go back to the pee-wee days, the best practices are the ones that are super muddy and you are sliding around. That is what I have always known football to be so I look forward to taking the toughness and grit that I was able to create through experiences in middle school, high school and at the college level and apply them to playing here in Cleveland."

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