Freddie Kitchens is in the early portion of his first year as a head coach but he's already made an impression on one who has plenty of hardware to polish.
Kitchens recently traveled to his old stomping grounds, the University of Alabama, for a coaching clinic hosted by Nick Saban. During the event, Kitchens was one of a handful of featured speakers and relayed a message that stuck with the Crimson Tide coach.
"Freddie Kitchens made an interesting statement last night when he spoke to the clinic and I actually shared it with the players today: You know, we actually have about five choices in our life," Saban said as he relayed Kitchens' statement. "We can be bad at what we do. We can be average at what we do. I mean, we can be good at what we do -- which is probably God’s expectation for whatever ability he gave us. Or we can be excellent ... or we can be elite.
"Everybody has a choice as to what they want to do and how they want to do that. But if you're going to be excellent or elite, you've got to do special things. You have to have special intentions, you have to have a special focus, you have to have a special commitment, and drive, and passion to do things at a high level and a high standard all of the time.
"It doesn't matter what God-given ability that you have ... that probably can make you good. But without the rest of it, I'm not sure if you ever get excellent or elite, and that's the part that we're trying to get to."
Thirty-six prospects hailing from schools or cities near Cleveland made the trip to Berea on Friday to work out for Browns personnel staff and coaches. Take a look at some of the best photos from the action.
Saban has won six national championships in his college career, including five since taking over at Alabama in 2007. He's been a head coach at four different FBS schools and also filled the same role with the NFL's Miami Dolphins for two seasons before leaving for Alabama. His success speaks for itself, but Kitchens' ability to make such an impression on him also speaks to why he earned his position with the Browns.
This idea of passion, desire and dedication driving positive action has permeated Kitchens' public responses in nearly every facet since he took the head coaching job in Cleveland. He spoke about it in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, and again in a different form in Phoenix at the NFL Annual Meeting. He relies on "passion" plenty when speaking about new acquisition Odell Beckham.
Kitchens' full trip to Tuscaloosa can be seen upcoming episodes of Building the Browns, which airs on Sundays on News 5 (WEWS-TV).