DeShone Kizer had little interest Monday in discussing the past, whether it be about skeptics who doubted his abilities or the quarterback history of the franchise he's tasked to lead through the 2017 season.
It's all about the future for Kizer, and he's more than happy to discuss the short- and long-term of it.
In announcing the decision Sunday, Browns coach Hue Jackson said he was ready to ride the waves that are inevitably on the horizon with the NFL's youngest quarterback under center in a starting role. That meant a lot to Kizer, who has lauded Jackson's role in his development from the first rookie minicamp practice to Monday's walk-through.
"To have him by my side is an awesome experience at the quarterback position," Kizer said. "We know in this sport the quarterback-coach relationship can go a long ways. You see a lot of the successful teams have great quarterback and head coach relationships. For us to start off the way we have … if we can go out there and have a little success and we continue to grow in that sense, hopefully, this can be something that can last for 10-15 years."
Don't mistake Kizer's long-term goals as getting ahead of himself. His focus is centered enough on the present to where he's not yet digging fully into the Steelers, Cleveland's season-opening opponent, until he finds out his official status for Thursday's preseason finale. Jackson said he'd yet to decide about Kizer's status for the game, so the rookie is preparing for the Bears as if he were playing the entire thing.
Even if he's sidelined for precautionary reasons Thursday, Kizer and the Browns agree: The more he plays, the better he'll become.
"I was a little more comfortable walking out on the first rep in Game 3 rather than Game 2," Kizer said. "As the more reps you get, obviously the more comfortable you become, the more confident you become. By the end of that first half a couple days ago against Tampa, I truly felt as if I was in control of the offense and truly had the confidence needed to go out there and lead this team to a position to win games."
That's the ultimate goal, of course, and Kizer will begin that quest in less than two weeks. Beyond the wins and losses, Kizer is hopeful he'll be the one to bring stability to a position that's been anything but for the Browns since they returned as a franchise in 1999.
A native of Toledo, a Northwest Ohio city Kizer describes as "50-50" for the Browns and Lions, he's all too familiar with what he's become. He made it clear Monday he isn't backing down from the challenge.
"It is 2017, and I bet you 10 of those 26, I was not even considering playing in the NFL as the time so that is way behind us, and obviously, the vibes out here at practice are completely different than what they have been in the past," Kizer said. "We have a new coaching staff, we have been through new owners in that time and that in itself should show you that there are some things changing here.
"You see that list grow and grow and grow. You hear people and the chatter throughout my whole community. Now to be on that list and hopefully end that list will be an awesome situation for me.
"This program is obviously historic and has had a lot of success. What this tradition that we have here has become over this quite a few years of playing in this league to now go out and represent it being from this area is truly an honor."