Weeden Sees Age as Positive

Kurt Warner, Steve Young and Roger Staubach are examples of successful NFL quarterbacks who didn't start in the NFL until late in their 20's or even their early 30's.

BEREA, Ohio—The one topic that was constantly brought up about Brandon Weeden was his age. After playing six years in professional baseball, he entered the draft at 28. He will turn 29 on Oct. 14.

However, Weeden sees his age as a positive.

"It was there (the age factor)," Weeden said in his welcoming press conference in Cleveland. "I've been consistent. It's a unique situation, but the more I talk about it and the more conversations I had (with the Browns) they felt comfortable that it wasn't an issue.

"It really prepares me for what I'm to go through," he said. "Being 28 years old isn't a negative. I see it as a positive on a daily basis.

"My body is still fresh," he said. "Taking the time off to play baseball and not getting hit as much as a lot of people at Oklahoma State, I stayed healthy. I think I am still continuing to grow and become a better player. You guys know me, it is tough to play 15 years in this league. You have got to continue to work and my body is fresh so I feel like I have got a lot of football left."

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he felt Weeden was a top 10 player.

"Weeden is the most underrated player in the draft, because of his age," Gundy told the Chronicle-Telegram before the draft. "He's definitely a first-round pick. He's got the body of a 24-year old. He's healthy. He hasn't been hit.

"He's mature, married and has been through the growing stages you go through as a young player," he said. "Money won't affect him. And not many people walking on the face of the earth throw the football like him."

Kurt Warner, Steve Young and Roger Staubach are examples of successful NFL quarterbacks who didn't start in the NFL until late in their 20's or even their early 30's.

Weeden said even though he came via a non-traditional route, he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I knew I had an opportunity coming out of high school (with baseball and being the Yankees first choice)," he said. "I wouldn't change my decision. Everything happens for a reason."

Weeden said he knew it was time to give up baseball when he was in a minor league game in California with the wind blowing out and he gave up three home runs on broken bat hits.

"I didn't want to be a guy who spent 10 years in the minor leagues," he said. "I gave up three broken bat home runs and said this isn't going to happen. I decided to go back and play college football."

Weeden threw for 9,004 yards with 71 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in 26 games as a starter his last two seasons in college.

"I think if you look at what we did at Oklahoma State, we relied on throwing the football," Weeden said. "We put the ball in my hands and I had great playmakers around me which allowed us to do that. I think that is what (the Browns) saw. I think they saw a guy who can make all of the throws.

"Regardless, of what system you come from or go to, the NFL is such a throwing league that there are a lot of guys who are successful throwing the ball that win a lot of games," he said. "Fortunately, that is my strength. I am going to do everything I can to learn this system as fast as I possibly can and get rolling. I was around it a little bit at the Senior Bowl and I got a little bit of a feel for it. I am looking forward to learning it and getting the ball rolling."

Weeden said as a pitcher in the minor leagues with the Yankees, his fastball topped off at 97 mph. At 6-4, 221 pounds, he has the prototypical size. His strong arm is a positive and he said he hasn't been affected playing in the wind. He has heard that the wind can swirl at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"Oklahoma is a windy place, but it comes down to throwing a tight spiral," he said. "We played in a game this year with gusts of about 80 mph and it was one of my best games."

Weeden doesn't know how quickly he will be put into the lineup, but does take comfort that Andy Dalton and Cam Newton were able to step in immediately as starters and be successful as rookies.

"It's all about winning football games and whatever my role is in helping to do that is what it's about," he said. "There are a lot of guys who came in early in their career and played and as a competitor that is what I want to do.

"Seeing guys like Andy and Cam Newton, these guys come in early and play," he said. "Like I said, I've got a lot of work to do still. I have got a lot of work ahead of me. I am kind of chomping at the bit to get going and see how things shake out."

Weeden sat next to the Browns' top draft choice, Trent Richardson, in his press conference. He said he is very excited to have him in the backfield with him.

"It's very comforting," Weeden said. "I thought he was the best player in the country. As a quarterback, it's comforting to be able to turn around and hand the ball off to someone like him."


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