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Lifelong Browns fan Dre'Mont Jones won't play favorites among potential NFL suitors

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dre'Mont Jones had an unfortunate epiphany in early February.

The lifelong Browns fan, headed for the NFL in April, could no longer live in the same manner.

A native of Cleveland and product of St. Ignatius High School, Jones explained the fate of his fandom Saturday when speaking with reporters at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. 

"Ending until further notice," Jones said of his fan support for the Browns. 

"I watched the Browns every Sunday with my dad. It was like our thing: Watch the game, get some food, chill, relax, watch Ohio State on Saturdays. So I mean, kind of how it really started."

What Jones described is a way of life for many football fans in Ohio: Ohio State on Saturday and the Browns on Sunday. He has to suspend it now, though, for job-hunting purposes. It's a standard practice among most NFL prospects -- I'm a fan of all 32 teams -- save for the few exceptions who either let slip who they followed growing up, or are too passionate to hide it during the pre-draft process. 

So, no hard feelings. But St. Ignatius' athletics account offered an intriguing response to Jones' tweet back in early February.

"For me, that would be super surreal, being from that city," Jones said. "If I'm not, I'm happy to be a part of any other organization that appreciates my talent."

Pressed a little more out on the topic, in search of maybe a shred of C.J. McCollum-like passion, Jones was askied if he'd envisioned taking an NFL field wearing brown and orange.

"I envision the possibility of playing for any team," Jones said.

Well played.

"Playing for Cleveland, that would be crazy, that would be like a dream come true," he continued. "But playing for these other teams, like the Cardinals or the Colts or the Jaguars or the Patriots, that's also a dream come true because I'll be in the NFL."

All right. So what about Jones, and the possibility of fitting into the Browns' roster?

Cleveland has room for improvement up front and is doing the prep work for a draft deep at the position. Jones is part of the upper half of that depth, an All-American and All-Big Ten selection in his final season as a Buckeye.

Check out the top defensive tackle prospects at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

He's a smaller defensive tackle in part because he was recruited as a defensive end and didn't make the switch until the second half of his career at Ohio State. While some might see that as a disadvantage, Jones thinks the opposite is true.

"My unique ability to rush the passer," Jones answered when asked why teams should draft him. "I think what I do is uncanny and I do it at a high level every game.

"I think my basketball background helped me a little bit because I'm able to be agile and get skinny and get through the hole or just be quick and elusive with my feet."

Jones landed at No. 49 in NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's first crack at his annual top 50 NFL draft prospects, but saw himself bumped out on the second go-around. No worries for Jones, though, because he's still going to be drafted by a team at some point, likely in the first three rounds.

That's when he'll learn of which team he'll become a fan. Until then, support is off limits.

Maybe, just maybe, it will resume in Cleveland, instead of starting anew.

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