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It's rivalry week in more ways than one inside Browns locker room

The state of the wager depends on who you ask. 

On Wednesday, Denzel Ward said he and Jabrill Peppers were still thinking of a proper Ohio State-Michigan bet. Peppers told a different story on Friday, however. 

The story goes like this: Ward approached Peppers with the intention of betting on The Game, but refused to agree to any conditions that included Ward wearing Michigan gear. 

"Are you scared?" Peppers asked. "Do you not have belief in your boys?" 

It's rivalry week — both in college football and for the Browns. The Browns will engage in the first of two games with their in-state rival this Sunday, while in the college ranks, games like Ohio State vs. Michigan headline the Saturday slate. 

Coach Gregg Williams was asked about the most passionate rivalry in the NFL this week, and while he's been involved in most of them, he was mostly non-committal in his answer. He named Redskins-Cowboys and Dolphins-Bills, but he said that every division has them, and they're all intense. 

The Browns carry legitimate rivalries with all three of their division foes: Browns-Steelers needs no introduction, Browns-Ravens is old Browns vs. new Browns and the Bengals are the in-state team. Joel Bitonio said it's hard to rank the rivalries, which, for the young players coming from college, is different. 

Ward and Peppers will presumably think of something to embarrass the loser of the OSU-Michigan bet. Jarvis Landry offered to take any bets reporters had against the underdog LSU Tigers when they played Alabama. And Emmanuel Ogbah said Baker Mayfield holds Oklahoma's "Bedlam" victory over Ogbah's Oklahoma State Cowboys over Ogbah's head every chance Mayfield gets.

"Until next year," Ogbah said.

NFL rivalries are just different. One loss doesn't torpedo a team's championship hopes; tradition plays less of a factor; and players are more likely to stay with one school than they are with one NFL team. Plus, the hostile environments aren't quite as hostile. 

"It is not the same as college rivalries," Mayfield said of playing on the road against NFL rivals. "I think it is very easy in college to kind of come together. You have every reason to do that. Now, it is much more professional so you have to find ways to bring everybody together, to have that mentality that your back is against the wall. It is just you on the road and you have to find a way to win. It's just different."

That's the other thing about the NFL: Your old rivals become your teammates. That's when bets like Ward's and Peppers' are generated. But while bragging rights are important, these former adversaries wear the same colors now. At any time besides 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, their goals are aligned. 

"Yeah, we were rivals," Ward said. "But we're teammates, and we play for each other."