Skip to main content

Jaelen Strong thankful for opportunity to resume career with Browns

Jaelen Strong spent the 2018 season out of football. Now, he's just thankful to be back, even if it is the offseason.

Strong, a former third-round pick of the Houston Texans, signed with the Browns on Wednesday.

"Cleveland gave me the opportunity," Strong said during a Friday appearance on Cleveland Browns Daily. "I was just thankful that they accepted me with open arms and welcomed me to the team. It really wasn't a choice. Soon as I got there, the love that they were showing and everything just made me feel welcome."

Strong spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the Texans, where he caught 28 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns in his first 18 games. The former Arizona State standout battled an ankle injury near the end of his time with the Texans, which officially ended shortly after he was suspended one game for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Strong caught on with the Jacksonville Jaguars, recording three receptions for 38 yards and one touchdown in his first game with the team. It was ultimately his only game as a Jaguar, as an ACL injury ended his 2017 season.

Browns general manager John Dorsey has made a habit out of taking fliers on former high draft picks who previously struggled to meet their high expectations (Greg Robinson, Breshad Perriman) and watching them blossom with the Browns in less than a full season. It helps when a team suddenly solves its quarterback quandary in emphatic fashion.

"He's a winner," Strong said when asked what he likes about Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. "He's a championship player and the fact that he's a leader and I'm excited to be able to share a locker room with guys like him and Jarvis (Landry), those guys I look forward to getting in touch with and building the chemistry and most importantly, learning. Doing whatever I can do to help Cleveland become a better team."

It's also an interesting time for the Browns' receiver position. Cleveland has Landry entrenched as the leader of the room along with Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins as promising young talents. Beyond them lies some questions: Will the Browns re-sign Perriman, who came out of nowhere to catch 16 passes for 340 yards in a 10-game span that also included two memorable touchdown grabs in late-season thrillers? And how much more active could Cleveland be in free agency or the draft, where it holds 10 selections?

Regardless of how the depth chart shakes out, Strong emphasized his gratitude for the Browns and their pursuit of his services, especially after a season away from the game.

"I'm not really thinking about myself in this aspect right now," Strong said when asked about what he brings to the Browns. "I'm thinking about whatever I can do to help Cleveland. They gave me the opportunity to come in and show them I can play and that's exactly what I plan to do, is come in and focus on that and just giving Cleveland my all."