When Braxton Miller took his first steps on the field Wednesday after signing with the Browns, the wide receiver felt at home.
Miller is from Springfield and played quarterback and wide receiver in his five years at Ohio State. The Browns are about as close to home as he can get in the NFL — his family is still living in Columbus — but it wasn’t just the location that made Miller feel as though the Browns were the perfect fit.
“I can feel the vibe and the good energy around the facility,” Miller said. “It was a warm welcome for sure. Everybody’s happy.”
That’s what the 2016 third-round pick wanted after spending his first two seasons with the Houston Texans and last season on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. Miller hasn’t even been with the Browns for 24 hours, and he’s already comfortable.
Check out photos from the last day of Browns Camp by team photographer Matt Starkey
Miller said he had a few other teams hoping to bring him in, but the allure of the Browns and the closeness to home was too much to pass up.
He faces an uphill battle to stick around, though. The Browns possess a group of wide receivers looking to crack a roster position behind Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins. Coaches will likely give Miller a long look, but his window to impress is small.
With two preseason games left, Miller just wants to make plays as soon as he can. He could see a decent amount of snaps Friday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Just give me a couple plays and a little package,” Miller said. “I’ll get it done.”
— Kitchens said he models his coaching style and building bonds with players off Sylvester Croom, who spent 40 years as a college and NFL coach. Croom became the first African-American head coach in SEC history when he coached Mississippi State from 2004-2008 and worked with Kitchens when he was a position coach with the Bulldogs from 2004-2005.
“For him to carry that on his shoulders during that time, I was very blessed to be a part of that,” Kitchens said. “To see how he came through the fire, per say, and still be the man that he is, I mean, that’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen as an individual.”
—Kitchens doesn’t know how long some of the Browns starters will play Friday in Tampa Bay. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Jarvis Landry didn’t appear in the last preseason game against the Colts, but Kitchens could allow both players to play Friday.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been a limited participant in practice after injuring his hip last week. It’s unknown if he’ll receive any snaps Friday.
— Rookie linebacker Mack Wilson was awarded the Maurice Bassett Award on Wednesday. The award was named in 1985 in honor of running back Maurice Bassett, who played for the Browns from 1954-56, and is given to the Browns’ most outstanding rookie in training camp as voted by the media.
— The following players did not practice Wednesday due to injury: Juston Burris (hamstring), Antonio Callaway (ankle), Ishmael Hyman (concussion), Kyle Kalis (concussion), Joe Kerridge (concussion), D.J. Montgomery (hamstring), Brian Price (concussion), Sione Takitaki (hamstring) and Jermaine Whitehead (groin).