Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- DL Caleb Brantley
- DL Myles Garrett
- K Zane Gonzalez
- RB Matthew Hayes
- OL Rod Johnson
- QB DeShone Kizer
- TE David Njoku
- DL Larry Ogunjobi
- DB Jabrill Peppers
- DB Howard Wilson
DL Caleb Brantley:
On if the possibility of not being able to be on the Browns this upcoming season due to pending legal matters is 'hanging over him':
"I wouldn't say that it is hanging over me. I am just thankful for the opportunity that the Browns gave me. I am just thankful that I get to be here and try to make the team."
On seeing other defensive linemen be selected before him during the draft:
"My heart was a little heavy while watching the draft. It was hard to watch it. Like I said, when the Browns called me and selected me, I was just thankful for the opportunity."
On Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown's message after the Browns selected him:
"I would like to keep our conversation private, but, like I said, I'm thankful for the opportunity."
On if he expects to be with the team for training camp:
"I hope so. Like I said, I want to do what I have shown what I can do and contribute to the team. Hopefully, everything works out."
On if he knew there was a good chance the Browns would select him during the draft:
"On draft night, nobody knows. You have all of these so-called 'experts' and all that, but nobody really knows where they are going to go. I was just waiting."
On what he can bring to the Browns:
"I just think I can bring an aggressive style of play to this defense – play-making ability, somewhat of a unique skillset along the D line. I just want to come in and contribute to the team. I am trying to win."
On if his off-field experience gives him a 'chip on his shoulder' or something to prove to those who said negative things about him:
"Of course. I'm not going to say I didn't hear all of the stuff that they did say about me, but there is definitely a chip on my shoulder. I'm just going to go out and prove everybody wrong who said bad things about me and said I had character issues and all of that. I'm not really worried about it. I'm just ready to move on."
On what type of person he is:
"I feel like I'm a genuine and great person. I'm out here playing football, the game that I love, and trying to take care of my mom and my brother. Obviously, everyone has their opinions on social media and stuff like that, but my teammates can speak for that and the people who know me."
DL Myles Garrett:
On being rookie minicamp with the rest of the Browns rookies:
"I feel good. Everybody s here willing to compete and willing to get better. We are just all trying to prove ourselves and prove that we belong."
On coming to a team that finished 1-15 last season as the No. 1 overall draft pick:
"It doesn't bother me at all. These guys know what kind of standard that they have here. They're trying to turn things around. They have a standard of winning. That is every rep on and off of the field. We are trying to hold ourselves to that standard."
On how he feels about his pre-minicamp training and going through rookie minicamp:
"The very same way I was before. Keep on working and just doing the thing that I have been doing for my whole life, pretty much – don't change"
On being the league's top pick and the pressure coming to the Browns as the No. 1 selection:
"I'm in good hands. This is what I have been dreaming of for I don't know how long. Just take advantage of all the opportunities that I've been given and go out there and be yourself."
On how the Browns can turn around past results:
"First, we have to find our place. We have to find out where we fit and how we can make this team better. I think we can all do that. We can all contribute in one way or another. These next three days and next couple of weeks will just be us finding out niche."
On how he is going to be a contributor for the team:
"I'm going to be a playmaker. No matter where they put me at or what kind of plays they have me in, I know that they are going to put me in the best position to make plays. I'm not really bothered. They are going to blitz me, they are going to let me go and wreak havoc and I'm excited for it."
On dealing with high expectations throughout his career:
"I have high expectations for myself. I'm not worried about what people expect from me or what they think I am going to do. My expectations are definitely higher than what most others have for me. I hold myself to that every single time I step on the field, whether I'm going against whoever is out there for rookie camp or if I am going against the very best or if I am just trying to learn the playbook or just being a great man in general."
On if he is going to change at all now that he is a high-profile athlete and that his comments seem to continue to make headlines:
"No, I'm going to be myself. I'm not going to hide. I'm just going to be respectful. The team comes first. I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize them or myself. Just make sure that I speak lightly and carry a big stick."
On if he was surprised by the reaction to his comments about the Steelers and being eager to getting after QB Ben Roethlisberger:
"I think that was kind of blown up, but I stand by it. We are looking to get after it. Why should I be afraid of saying those kinds of things? That is what any team would say or any player would say. You are trying to make a name for yourself. You are trying to go out there and win games just like they are. They are not going to shy away from the challenge and neither are we."
K Zane Gonzalez:
On if this is his first time in Cleveland:
"Yes sir, it is."
On if he had any inclination that the Browns were going to select him:
"Throughout the whole process, all three days and the days leading up to the draft, there are multiple teams that would contact you and call you and stuff like that. There were a few others, but I am just blessed to be here."
On if he took pre-draft visits to Cleveland:
On another K being selected earlier in the draft:
"The coaching staff at Cincinnati has their own reasons for taking Jake (Elliott), but Jake is an awesome guy. We grew up together. We have kicked together a lot. A great kicker, as well. I wish him nothing but the best, but I get a chance at a little revenge getting to play them two times a year. It is going to be awesome."
On if there is a benefit to kicking in the dry climate compared to Cleveland:
"Yeah, a little bit, but I'm looking forward to getting out here and getting to work, getting used to kicking in this weather. It is awesome – a great facility, a great team. After talking to coach, the way that the team is looking this year, I'm excited to get to work."
On if he ever played any other football position besides K:
"No sir, I have played soccer my whole life."
On when he started kicking:
"Going into high school, I started kicking. It got more serious going into my sophomore year. From there, I just saw an opportunity and then just made the most of it each year."
On getting put on scholarship for kicking:
"Not right away. The recruiting process was not very fun. I didn't get an offer until a month and a half after signing day. Once I got my foot in the door, that is all I could do is just go to work."
On preparing for kicking in different conditions:
"It is just mental stuff. You can't really let it get to you. You go out there and just stay in your routine. You just have to figure out a way through it, just like any other position, you have to work your way through unique situations. With the coaching staff that we have here and the team, I feel confident going into it."
RB Matthew Dayes:
On opening rookie minicamp:
"It is not going too bad. I have been around this coaching staff before at the Senior Bowl. It is good seeing them again. It has been going smoothly for me thus far."
On if he met Pro Football Hall of Famer RB Jim Brown:
"I did. It was kind of crazy. I couldn't believe it, but it was pretty cool meeting him. He is a real nice guy."
On his first impressions of Jim Brown:
"The first thing I thought was, 'Should I say hi to him?' It was crazy seeing him for the first time in real life. It was cool"
On wearing the same uniform as one of the greatest players of all time in Brown:
"I mean it is truly an honor. I am going to try to represent this organization as best as I can. Anything they need me to do, I will do it."
On what his first experience was playing football:
"I played football in the street with my friends and stuff so I knew I was halfway decent at it at that point. I thought it was a pretty good transition into organized football for me."
On his family's reaction to playing football:
"My mom definitely did not want me to play football. She thought it was a waste of time and school was more important. She realized how important it was to me and has brought me this far so I am thankful for that."
OL Rod Johnson:
On if the Browns have said he will work at LT:
"When I was at home last week, (offensive line) Coach (Bob) Wylie called me and he said, he had me penciled in at left tackle, but anything can happen. If you want me to go to right, I will go to right. If you want me at left, I will stay at left."
On if he ever moves inside to G or C:
"No, I do not move inside. I am strictly a tackle."
On transitioning from college to the NFL in the last 24 hours:
"It has been too fast to even soak it in that I am in the NFL. We are always busy. You get home to the hotel last night and start studying the playbook. Having three-hour meetings now instead of an hour like we did in college, fast pace and we are back again in meetings so it is pretty fast paced thing."
On if signing with the Browns yesterday was a relief:
"It was a relief and just a blessing to know it is official. I am officially a part of the Dawg Pound crew. I just can't wait to get to work here."
On if he believes he can become a top-level LT, given where he was drafted compared to other high-level NFL LTs:
"Of course. All I need to do is get my foot in the door. I got that so being drafted where I was it just probably is adding fuel to the fire. It is motivation for all the teams who slept on me and passed on me so I just have to prove that I was one of the top caliber tackles in the draft."
On what attributes make a great LT:
"A tackle who has great football IQ and is athletic, strong, powerful, knows the game and just good all around."
QB DeShone Kizer:
On wearing No. 7 for the Browns:
"Yeah, I have been No. 14 my whole life, but, obviously, the great (Pro Football Hall of Fame and Browns QB) Otto Graham retired that one away. I just thought it as the best option for me."
On his initial reaction to the playbook:
"It is kind of ironic that I chose a quarterback coach who was under (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson, (former NFL QB) Zac Robinson, who is a guy who was able to kind of grasp some of the main concepts with that. He has actually been teaching me the NFL from that perspective during the last couple months during the pre-draft process. It has actually been kind of been an easy transition."
On playing against QBs Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan in college:
"I did. I played against (QB) Cody (Kessler) in 2015, as well as (QB Kevin) Hogan. He knocked me out of the semifinals."
On the playbook being more complicated:
"Absolutely it is. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Making the transition from the level of ball that I was playing last year to this one is definitely going to be one that takes some time. I am just looking forward to getting out there and continuing to learn."
On his QB play being highly critiqued prior to entering the NFL:
"It is a new transition for me. This is a brand new process, a situation that I have never been a part of. I am completely open with big ears to take as much coaching as I possibly can. I completely understand that the things I did in college are not going to just jump over to the NFL and be exactly what they were. It is going to take a lot of work so I am just trying to learn as much as I can and become a pro as quickly as I can."
On what excites him to play under Head Coach Hue Jackson:
"How much he loves ball and how much he loves quarterbacks. He is a guy who prides himself on developing quarterbacks and making his system for the quarterbacks. With that, I am just excited to learn as much as I can from him. To have a Head Coach who is going to be in all the quarterback meetings and be calling the plays for you, it makes an easy relationship between the quarterbacks and head coach."
On what he has learned from Jackson already:
"That you have to be able to say the plays in the huddle before you can actually do anything. That is going to be the biggest transition for me coming from a team where it was all hand signals in high school and also in college. To be able to go in there and command the huddle and be able to communicate to the guys is definitely the first thing on my agenda."
TE David Njoku:
On OL Joe Thomas tweeting that he thought he was a coach when they met yesterday:
"(Laughter) In my defense, his name tag wasn't there yet so I am looking at him. I am like, he looks familiar, but let me just slide in and ask a question. He laughed. He was like, 'Yeah, I'm part-time coach, part-time player.' I know who he is, but yeah, he is a great dude. We are going to have a lot of fun this year."
On what he has to do in his first few weeks with the Browns:
"Just have to work hard and study a lot with the playbook. It is a brand new playbook for me. I am actually getting really, really into it already so I just have to keep working really hard."
On if he can contribute to the Browns right away, particularly given his age:
"I know I can. I am confident in myself, but I am also very humble. I think if I just keep working really hard – I made it this far. I know God has a plan. I am just going to keep working, keep studying, keep praying and see how far that takes me."
On what he did to prove to himself that he was ready to enter the NFL:
"I just recall the long hours of practice, running a bunch of routes whether it was corner routes or seam routes and long hard routes when you are really tired and fatigued and just doing the extra push just to better yourself by that much. That is all I really recall. All those hard days, and I am happy that I am here."
On if he was almost moved to LB during his freshman year at Miami:
"For like six hours (laughter). I was a freshman. I was big. They didn't have much depth in that position so they moved me there for a bit. Then they realized I was an offensive guy and kept me on offense."
On his early impressions of QB DeShone Kizer:
"It's weird – he reminds me a lot of (Miami and Lions QB) Brad (Kaaya), similar characteristics. He is a great dude. I am really excited to play with him."
On talking to the other draft picks about turning the Browns around:
"Oh yeah, (DB) Jabrill (Peppers) and I have known each other for like six years. I knew him before I went to Miami in New Jersey. It is not going to be easy. We just have to continue to work and stay true to ourselves, study the playbook that much more, take care of our bodies and work on our bodies with that. Just be the best we can be and that's all we can do."
On if he realized the NFL is his job now after receiving the playbook:
"Something like that. It is really exciting that we worked since we were little kids to go to the NFL and now we are here. So then we are like, 'What's next?' What is next is just the hard work of turning this around and being the best we can be. That is what we are going to do."
DL Larry Ogunjobi:
On what he knew about Cleveland before being drafted:
"When I got the call, nothing, nothing at all. I knew that the city had really good fans. It had a really strong support system. Football is really big to the people that live here. I understood that I was coming into a situation that I could really turn this thing around and that the city would appreciate us for that. The people here have really deep roots. I don't think people that come to Cleveland just to live in Cleveland; they are here, deep families with a lot of roots here. The people who grew up here and live here really love football. The biggest thing is just truly trying to come in here and just help turn this thing around."
On if there was any introduction to Cleveland history for him:
"We met (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) Jim Brown yesterday. He is probably the patriarch of all Browns, to be honest. Just to see somebody sit there, and he was a part of that last team that won that World Championship so to be able to see him and see what winning looked like was impressive."
On if he has scaled back his workouts at all:
"I didn't understand the term over-train because I was just so used to working so hard. I realized that sometimes you have to work smarter, not harder. Right now, your body is a business, and you have to see over your body. The things that you do on and off of the field are what is going to correlate to the field. I made sure I understood that there is a balance. As hard as you work, you have to rest the same way. You have to have the same recovery methods. That is what I have learned, is that you have to balance that out."
On being the first player drafted to the NFL from UNC-Charlotte:
"Being the first is something special. It's something that nobody else could ever take away from you. I don't really feel any pressure because whether you are a first-round pick or an undrafted free agent, everybody is trying to get into this fraternity that we call the NFL. The opportunity that you are given is yours, and what you do with it is yours. There is no pressure. The ball is in my court. What I do with this opportunity, I have nobody to blame but myself. I just have to go out there and make the most of it."
On if he feels he can make an impact on the team:
"I think that is why you play football. You play because you want to play and go out there and be the best that you can be. Those kind of things kind of take care of themselves. There are certain things that you can control, and certain things that you can't. What I control is my attitude and my effort, and that every day I have to come out here and understand that every day is an interview. What I put on tape is what is going to be used to scale if I can play or not. That is how you build your résumé, not talking and sounding good in front of everybody else, but by actually going out there and making plays."
On DL Myles Garrett and DB Jabrill Peppers:
"Myles is an awesome guy. He is my roommate and everything. We have talked a lot. He is very humble, a really humble guy. Jabrill, he is the same way. He is our 'Energizer Bunny.' He is a guy who really brings a lot of life and energy to our practices and to the meeting room. I'm looking forward to what type of teammate he's going to be."
DB Jabrill Peppers:
On his response to recent comments by someone questioning his explanation of the dilute sample during the Combine and stating he was using illegal substances:
"People are going to say whatever they want to say. This is my first time in Cleveland since they flew me out here. I do not know what she is talking about. I think people just say what they want to say to make stories. I do not really buy into that. I came here to play football and to get this great organization get back to promise so that is what I am going to do."
On if it bothers him that the dilute sample places him into NFL processes and testing:
"They are just doing their due diligence. I was informed when it happened. I am not really bothered by it. It is what it is. I will just do what I have to do to get out and to be the best ball player I can be."
On if he has been told how get out of the testing program:
"Just do what I have been doing and stay clean. There is nothing more than that."
On if it is difficult to deal with public scrutiny before even having an opportunity to play in the NFL:
"That is just society. I have been pretty much in the spotlight since I got to Michigan so I am built for it. That is just society. Those who don't like me use things like this to further their agenda and other people speculate. I can only control what I can control, and that is being the best ball player and best person I can be."
On assuring people that he has never used the substances someone claimed he did:
"Absolutely not, never in my life [have I used those substances]. Whatever drugs she says I have done, I have never done in my life."
On what he needs to stress early in his career:
"Just to gel with the team, learn from the veterans and follow their lead. It is a new world order, a new attitude and I am just going to follow suit."
On what mark the 2017 Rookie Class will make on the Browns:
"We are not worried about the kind of mark. Everyone pretty much knows what we have to do and that is just come in here and learn, be the best people we can be, be coachable and contribute to the team in every way we can, whether it is on offense, defense or special teams."
On if he has received clarity as to if he will play multiple positions:
"Not right now. Nothing is set in stone for anybody. You have to come in and compete and earn your spot every day. That is what I intend to do."
On if his entry into the NFL occurs as at ideal time with the rise of hybrid players at the professional and college levels:
"I was asked to do a lot when I was in college, and that is what I did. I am a team guy. Whatever I can do to help my team win, that is what I am going to do. I am not worried about being a hybrid. I know what position I play – hybrid] is what the media says I am – but at the end of the day, I am just a guy who you can plug wherever you see fit and I am going to give the best effort I can give and try to affect the game someway, somehow."
DB Howard Wilson:
On where he gets his energy:
"Just a passion for the game. Especially when the ball is in the air, I just get revived or something. When I see the ball, I come alive. That is that money, that is the name of the game – getting that ball. When it brings itself up, I just have to go get it. I just enjoy getting it.
On the start to his football career:
"I was in third grade, and I tried out for the DeSoto (Texas) Saints. They didn't want me on the team at first. I was a wide receiver, but I was really on the defensive line. Coming in, I was skinny. Everyone was the same size back then so it really didn't matter what position you played. I was defensive line, then went to linebacker and stayed linebacker my whole high school career and then moved to safety in college."
On his initiation to contact in football:
"My first contact was when I played defensive line. The first snap I made a sack, and I just felt that rush. Ever since then, I have loved it. I feel like I'm a tackling player, a physical player. I like the contact."
On who he related to playing-wise growing up:
"I related more to the linebackers, the biggest dudes, like (former Bears LB Brian) Urlacher. I just looked up to them because they were physical. (Former Ravens LB) Ray Lewis and guys like that, it was just their passion for the game. Even though I was 150 [pounds], I liked the contact. I liked the mentality they had, the just go and get it, will against will, who is the bigger man, who is going to win. I just liked players who had that attitude."
On the college head coach transition his final season with now Texas head coach Tom Herman:
"It was a whole 180. It came from more of a little bit lax to black and white, no gray areas. You either do it right or you get out. Regardless of who you are, you could be the face of the university or the football team, but if you don't do it right, then you have got to go. It made me grow up. He made me grow up as a person and a player. Him coming bettered me as a person and a player."
On the defensive system at Houston that produces drafted players from their secondary:
"It was always our mentality for the DBs. We called ourselves the 'JackBoys' at Houston. That mentality was just getting the ball. When he (Herman) came, he brought more discipline and more techniques with the system. That helped us even more to put everything together. It was complete."