It took Jamie Meder seven months to grow his beard. It took the burly Browns nose tackle so much longer to score his first points in a football game, something that finally happened in Friday night's loss to the Packers when Meder and the Cleveland defense wrapped up running back James Starks for a safety.
"It took what, like 16 years of playing to get that," he said, laughing, "so I'm fine with it."
Monday marked another first for Meder, as the second-year defensive lineman played from Parma Heights took reps at end with the first-team defense.
"I think he's tough. He's really tough, he's strong, he knocks people back, and he pursues the football the way you have to pursue the football," said coach Hue Jackson, who added, "Jamie played extremely well last week. He's very valuable to us."
But it wasn't just Friday night's strong performance that earned Meder what could be an increased role on a defense still trying to find its footing.
"I don't know if it was just because of that. As you guys see, we put a lot of people in a lot of different positions to give them opportunities," Jackson said," (but) he's very deserving. I will say that."
Indeed, Meder — the Ashland standout who joined the Browns as a member of the practice squad in late 2014 — has had a strong training camp, the safety against the Packers included.
In 16 games last season, Meder finished with 33 tackles and sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota in the home opener. Now, he's learning the finer points of playing in defensive coordinator Ray Horton's 3-4 defense and, potentially, a starting spot on the edge of the defensive line.
"I just want to keep building and improving on what I've done before - making more tackles, taking on more double teams, taking on double teams longer, just helping our team win," Meder said.
And Meder, whose strong training camp last summer was something of a pleasant surprise, said he doesn't plan on relaxing now that he's running with the first-team defense.
"I don't ever want to get complacent so, I mean, I don't feel like I belong until the season's over," he said. "I'm ready for wherever my coaches want to put me," he said. "I mean, if it's first team, second team, third team, I'm ready to play. It doesn't really matter."
And maybe the future holds another scoring play.
"Hopefully it doesn't take 16 years," he said.