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Jason McCourty and Kenny Britt, reunited in Cleveland, see what Browns are building

Kenny Britt's pitch to Jason McCourty about Cleveland was simple.

"Everything's great about it. It's amazing," the wide receiver said Tuesday. "I have never been in a locker room like this."

That was enough to help draw McCourty — who spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Tennessee — to the Browns earlier this month. The defensive back figures to play a key role on a young defense next year, regardless where he lines up in Gregg Williams' ever-adaptable system.

Much like McCourty, Britt will be looked to play a significant role next season. The 28-year-old is coming off a career season (68 catches, 1,002 yards, five touchdowns) in Los Angeles and, upon signing in Cleveland this past spring, effectively became the team's elder statesman of a group that includes 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman and second-year receivers Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins.

The parallels don't stop there. Both vets also spoke of something happening in Berea they say few might be able to see.

"From the outside," McCourty said, "not a lot of people know what's going on (in Cleveland)."

Britt, too, was adamant the Browns are building something special following an offseason that saw them aggressively add free agents and curate a promising 2017 NFL Draft class that includes three first-round picks in Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku.

A 1-15 season in 2016, he said, feels like a distant memory.  "We don't see that there," he said. "I haven't seen that since I walked in the door."

Britt and McCourty go way back. The two were teammates for eight-straight seasons — at Rutgers from 2006-08 and again in Tennessee from 2009-13 — before Britt left Nashville for the Rams. And as McCourty weighed his options following his own departure, Britt was one of the first people he talked to about Cleveland.

"Actually, our wives talked to each other before he even came out here. My wife called me and told me he was taking a visit the next day," Britt said.

"I saw him in the lunchroom. We sat down with a bunch of guys and hit it off from right there. He's been by my side since I have been at Rutgers to tell you the truth, and it has been kind of cool to have a familiar face to go against each and every day."

Now, the two stand to become leaders — both on the field and in the locker room — on one of the league's youngest teams. And the painful memory of 2016, they say, continues to fall further into the background.

"Each and every day these guys step on the field, they step into the building," Britt said, "it's like it's a new season, it's like it's a winning football team."

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