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Free Agency

Hakeem Adeniji brings his passion for cooking to next NFL chapter with the Browns

Adeniji believes there is "no limit" for the Browns' offense 

Hakeem Signing Feature

One morning when Hakeem Adeniji was about seven years old, he wanted to make himself breakfast. So, he took out some bacon and cooked it up to eat. That was when he first discovered his interest in cooking.

"It started from there and it always fascinated me, so from there just kind of grew," Adeniji said. "I always watch Food Network, and so it's just always been a nice little step away passion for me."

Since then, he's developed his own methods and experiments with dishes to create his own recipes. Adeniji said that he sometimes will follow recipes as a baseline but finds ways to add his own twist to the dish.

"I cook a lot, just whatever I'm feeling from different cultures, the whole spectrum of things. I cook almost everything, especially in the offseason," Adeniji said. "It's a nice little way to express creativity."

Adeniji is now bringing that creativity with him to Cleveland, as he signed a contract with the Browns in March 2024.

Check out all of the roster moves the Browns have made since the beginning of the new league year.

When free agency began in March, Adeniji said he heard from his agent about the interest from the Browns. Seeing the success of the Browns during the 2023 season, it peaked Adeniji's own interest.

"Just being in the division and familiar with Cleveland, there's a lot of good pieces here," he said, "And so, for me with just the staff here and everything around it just felt like a good choice."

As he walked around CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on his signing day, he took in the layout of the facility and had an opportunity to meet Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry, head coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive line coach Andy Dickerson, assistant offensive line coach Roy Istvan and others.

When he met Dickerson for the first time, Adeniji noticed the high level of energy and authenticity Dickerson brings to his job as the offensive line coach. And when he met with Stefanski and Berry, he felt a sense of balance in their approach of incorporating fun while also playing and competing to win, which stood out as elements of a successful organization. For Adeniji, those meetings built a level of excitement about what the 2024 season could hold.

Now that he is with the Browns, Adeniji is looking forward to joining an offensive line room that consists of veterans like G Joel Bitonio, T Jack Conklin, G Wyatt Teller, C Ethan Pocic, G Michael Dunn and T Jedrick Wills Jr. Adeniji believes he also brings a level of experience and athleticism with his skillset to the offensive line.

"I've watched a lot of film on these guys over the years and just being able to learn from those guys that have played for a really long time at a really high level," Adeniji said. "But also, be able to contribute my part and help out in whatever way I can."

The veteran offensive tackle is entering his fifth NFL season out of Kansas after he was originally selected by the Bengals in the sixth round of the 2020 draft and spent his first three seasons in the league with Cincinnati. He then joined the Vikings for the 2023 season, first signing to the practice squad and serving as a backup. He's played in 43 career games, including 15 career starts with the Bengals and Vikings. He played in just four games with Minnesota in 2023.

Those experiences have shaped him over the course of his NFL career. Adeniji said it adds a level of comfort when coming to a new team because he's experienced other environments, and so it allows him to be prepared and have other ways he can add value to his current team.

"Just being in the NFL is a lot," Adeniji said. "It's a business and there's so many different aspects and going from a team where we were last in the division to going to the Super Bowl next year and being around a lot of good players from all different types of positions. I just feel like I've seen an entire landscape in these four years. And so, I think that brings a depth of experience different places, and from different situations."

Adeniji believes the Browns have the players to build off the success they had during the 2023 season. After overcoming a multitude of injuries, they still won won 11 games and clinched a playoff appearance. He thinks they can take another step forward in 2024.

"To withstand all of that and to be able to have that success is a testament to that it takes all 53," Adeniji said. "And so, for me, it's just like come in here, and we build upon that. There's no limit to what this team this offense can do."

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