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How Perrion Winfrey channels his high energy on game days

Rap music, a cold shower and meditation all help Winfrey escalate and de-escalate his high energy on game day


By now, any Browns fan who's listened to the chatter about Cleveland's 2022 NFL Draft class knows the biggest attribute of fourth-round DT Perrion Winfrey.

Energy. Winfrey never lacks it, and he certainly wasn't afraid to show it in his introduction to Browns fans, a six-minute Zoom call where Winfrey fielded questions from local media and answered with the type of excitement that will make a fanbase fall in love.

Winfrey has done a couple of more interviews of a more mellow variety since then, but his excitement toward joining the Browns was still palpable. One of them was Wednesday night on an episode of “Browns Live: Meet the Rookies” with Nathan Zegura. 

Winfrey's energy, of course, was still a big part of the discussion.

"It's just something that's always been a part of my life," he said. "It's something I've always tried to bring into my game. I'm not just going through the motions. I'm always going to be one of those guys who's going to be barking, bringing energy and making sure all my teammates are ready to go."

Check out photos of all the Browns rookies in Cleveland — and catch them live on 'Browns Live: Meet the Rookies' on May 18

Winfrey provided a peek into how he manages the energy. From turning it up on game days to toning it down when he's off the field, Winfrey has a few techniques he uses to ensure he's in the right mindset for the right setting.

Before a game, Winfrey is all about music and shuffles through two different styles to slowly ramp up.

"I probably start off with a lot of rap music," Winfrey said. "An hour before the game, I go into R&B, like Ray Charles or something, just to get me mellowed out and calm. Just before we go out, I start to listen to rap music again. My favorite artist right now is Lil Baby. I don't have a favorite song right now. He's got too many good ones. "

The energy boost enables Winfrey to unleash aggression at the line of scrimmage. Even in practice throughout rookie minicamp — and certainly on any highlight film from his two seasons at Oklahoma — it's evident that Winfrey has a motor that doesn't stop until the whistle is blown.

His biggest highlight, perhaps, was a sack against Iowa State QB Brock Purdy last season. The word "sack," however, doesn't do justice to how powerful Winfrey's hit was, which put Purdy on his back and sent the Sooners stadium and sideline into an uproar.

After he briefly slowed down in the backfield, Winfrey went into a sprint to chase him down and deliver the hit of the game — and likely the hit of his career.

"(My teammates) were losing their mind," Winfrey said. "It was funny looking at their reactions. Like, the quietest people were going crazy, squirting water bottles. Coaches were losing their minds. It was crazy."

The play is one of the best examples of how Winfrey's high energy can spread to an entire team in the form of a big play, but he isn't always that energized — or, as he tends to say, "juiced up."

To wind down, Winfrey is big on meditation and putting himself in a quiet space.  

"I take a cold shower, I sit in my room, turn the lights off and then meditate," he said. "I turn my phone off, get away from everything and focus on myself. I meditate for probably 15-30 minutes, and then after that, I'm calm. 

"I used to listen to ocean sounds, but now I like the peace and quiet and just listen to my breathing."

The formula worked for Winfrey at Oklahoma, where he became one of the top-ranked defensive tackles of the 2022 class. The Browns coveted Winfrey's intense style of play, and he appreciates the opportunity to show it every Sunday in front of a fanbase that can be just as rowdy.

"I feel this was the perfect organization for me for everything I stand for and the principles I live by and how I move in my day-to-day life," he said. "To be a part of the Dawg Pound is a blessing."