Almost bought my first ever Cleveland Browns hat over the weekend, but did not. Dark camo with the Cleveland Browns logo on it. Am I too old for camo, I do not know. Just as well, I will get one. Never have been a real fan of the Browns, even in the Belichick era. Do remember Blanton Collier. But I really like what is going on now and the direction that the team is taking.
Being an Ohio high school football guy, when I hear of former Ohio high school players playing in the NFL, I feel good. If you have read many of my blogs, I always encourage young players who do not make it to Ohio State, to work hard at where ever they go to college. Now, I am not anti Ohio State, but some players, more so parents(at times), feel that if O-State does not offer, they question their son's ability. This does not happen all of the time, but enough times for me.
Hats off to John Hughes, from Gahanna Lincoln High School and the University of Cincinnati. For John it just clicked for him at UC. Solid coming out of high school, but his athleticism was really good. Now getting a lot of playing time for the Browns.
Hats off to Ishmaa'ily Kitchen who has been playing well for the Browns. Overweight and a "take plays off" guy at Youngstown Mooney. But athletic and moved well, when he chose to. Much the same at Kent State, and the light came on playing with the Flashes. Best of all, excellent person.
I remember when Ashante Williams (Mayfield) signed with Illinois back in 2008. Played 43 games for Illinois. Ashante just signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Thought that he was a BCS prospect coming out of Mayfield, but he was all of that and more. Hope he sticks with Indianapolis.
QB Brian Hoyer from St Ignatius High School has returned to Cleveland and is trying to win the back-up QB position with the Browns. Played at Michigan State and with the New England Patriots. Have always liked his QB skills (needs more rpm's), but his QB intelligence and decision making are huge.
One former OSU player, Daniel Herron continues to work hard and I hope stays with the Bengals. Remember watching him work out at the University of Michigan summer camp years ago. He plays with every bit of his ability, which is impressive to me.
The biggest reason for me almost buying a Brown's cap is that I am rooting for head coach Rob Chudzinski. Another Ohio high school guy who went on to play at Miami (Florida). Chud has spent time as an assistant coach in the NFL and deserves a shot. One of my close friends who has retired after coaching in the NFL, just chuckled when Chudzinski was announced as the Browns new head coach. That alone put me in Chud's corner.
Of course, there is the Cleveland legend Bernie Kosar, who played at Boardman High School, University of Miami(Florida) and the Cleveland Browns. He made news last week as the analyst for the t-v coverage of the Browns. Arrogant, self-centered, and over-rated. Joe Banner (Browns president) commented on the "stupid" comments that Kosar made, but they are still letting him do the three remaining broadcasts. Kosar has enough problems of his own and should stay away from making sarcastic comments on players and coaches. Coach Bill Belichick knew how to handle him. Get rid of him. But what has Belichick ever done?
Advice to high school football players. Work hard, and even though Ohio State University is a storied program, and is a first class school, do not be discouraged if an OSU offer does not come your way. If in the "big picture," you want to play in the NFL, there are different roads to travel to get there. Secondly, guys like Bernie Kosar are everywhere. Full of themselves. Do not listen to all of the "noise" out there. This includes sports reporters, talk show people, and recruiting reporters.
Scrimmages start this week. If you are lucky, you may be playing football the first weekend in December. Do not worry about what you cannot control. Working and playing hard - you can control. Go BROWNS!