Freddie Kitchens was in “the middle of everything” as John Dorsey and Dave Gettleman finalized the deal that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland.
The new Browns head coach revealed Sunday he was inside the Browns draft room when the Browns and Giants general managers came to terms on one of the biggest trades in recent NFL history. It was a fitting location considering Cleveland parted with its first-round pick and a third-rounder along with offensive guard Kevin Zeitler and safety Jabrill Peppers in exchange for the electrifying Beckham and Pro Bowl pass rusher Olivier Vernon.
Kitchens, a little more than two months into his first NFL head coaching gig, appreciated the process while he witnessed his offense getting exponentially more potent with the addition of an All-Pro wide receiver.
“John’s very good in those situations,” Kitchens said during an interview on the “Around the NFL” podcast Sunday at the NFL’s league meetings in Phoenix.
“It was kind of fun to sit and watch him work and communicate with other GMs around the league and how the back and forth goes. It’s almost like a car auction or something. It’s very unique. To see the respect the two men had for each other as men and put a deal together like that … it was really my first time experiencing it like that on a personal level.”
In past interviews, Kitchens has said he’s excited to have a more involved and expanded role with the team’s roster construction now that he’s the head coach. And even though the Browns parted with two valuable draft assets in the trade with the Giants, they still hold eight selections, starting with the No. 49 overall pick.
That means plenty of more draft room sessions for Kitchens and Dorsey are on the docket in the coming weeks.
"I love the camaraderie of the staff and getting together and saying that it's our offense and believing it's our offense now. There's no egos,” Kitchens said at the NFL Combine last month. “It's OK to communicate and take suggestions from other people to form our offense, the Cleveland Browns offense, the Cleveland Browns defense and special teams, and knowing what our common factors are going to be but then fit everything around it and it becomes ours."
Kitchens spent 12 minutes with the “Around the NFL” gang, touching on a variety of subjects, including his theories on quarterback accuracy, his favorite bar food and whether or not Madonna was overrated. As you’d expect, Kitchens doesn’t pull any punches no matter the question.
“In today’s society, you’ve either got to be politically correct or blow smoke up people’s tails to get anywhere,” Kitchens said. “It’s good I’m in Cleveland because we kind of get along with the city and the community and the Browns organization.”