BEREA—Multiple national media reported that tight end Gary Barnidge was close to signing an extension with the Browns.
The Browns made it official as practice closed on Thursday.The terms were not disclosed.
“It’s a tremendous honor that Cleveland has the faith in me,” Barnidge said in a release put out by the team. “I want to be here whenever we turn this thing around. I know we haven’t had the season we wanted this year but I’m looking forward to the future and getting everything turned around.”
Mike Pettine spoke highly of Barnidge.
“The way Gary goes about his business every single day sets a great example for all of our players,” Pettine said. “He is a testament of hard work, professionalism and a team-first mentality. I can’t say enough positive things about Gary Barnidge.”
Barnidge said there were reasons he wanted to stay with the Browns and initiated a meeting with Jimmy Haslam to tell him so.
"I want to be a prt of the Browns when we turn this thing around," he said. "I met with the owner and I'm not worried about the organization and what might happen. I let him know that I wanted to be here."
Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was asked if the report was true while he was doing his weekly press conference.
“I don’t, but I sure hope that report is true,” DeFilippo said. “Gary Barnidge is one of the my most favorite guys that I’ve coached. If the report is true, the Cleveland Browns (are a better team).”
Barnidge, 30, has had a breakout season in 2015 after playing behind Pro Bowl tight ends with the Panthers and the Browns in Greg Olsen and Jordan Cameron.
Barnidge entered the season with 44 receptions for 603 yards and three touchdowns in 91 career NFL games. Thus far in 2015, Barnidge has 60 receptions for 817 yards with seven touchdowns.
DeFilippo was asked if he saw the ability in Barnidge when he arrived as Browns offensive coordinator.
“Yes I did,” he said. “To say (he’d play) at this level, but when I saw Gary and coaching staff saw him, we said this guy’s good. He’s 30, but he doesn’t have a lot of tread on his tires.
“If that report is true, this is a happy guy (sitting up here).”
Barnidge was voted the Browns Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner last week.
Barnidge is just one 100-yard game away from tying the franchise record for most 100-yard games in a season and needs just two touchdowns to tie Ozzie Newsome’s franchise record of nine.
General Manager Ray Farmer is glad to have one of the Browns possible free agents off the market.
“This is good news for both Gary and the Cleveland Browns,” Farmer said. “Gary is someone that does things the right way, both on and off the field. He’s a true professional and we are excited to have him remain a Cleveland Brown.”