BEREA, Ohio-- Many think the Browns need Kenny Britt to step up and be a front end receiver for the Browns--even if Corey Coleman emerges, as well.
But first, Britt has to get on the field.
Britt has not been on the field practicing in the days the OTA practices have been open to the media due to an undisclosed injury. However, he did talk after practice on Tuesday and said he expects that will change soon.
"We have to keep some things secret," Britt said laughing. "If (the media) is out here and I'm practicing, you will let the secrets out. (The injury is) nothing major at all. Thats what (the coaches and trainers) have me on, right now, but I'm pretty sure that's going to change."
Hue Jackson was asked about missing his projected top two receivers in Britt and Coleman during the OTA's.
“It would be different if we didn’t have them at all," Jackson said. "We have had Corey a little bit. We’ve had Kenny more, So there’s things that I want to make sure that they understand and know the foundation of what we are doing. Corey more so than Kenny right now, because Corey has been here, he knows the language and understands it. Kenny, it’s important that he’s out there as much as he has been, because he needs to make sure that he knows how to do things. I think the group, once we get them all back and get them healthy, I think we will represent ourselves well.”
Britt, 28, was signed in free agency when the Browns decided to not wait for a decision from Terrelle Pryor to re-sign with the team. Britt had similar numbers to Pryor last season with the Rams. He had his first 1,000-yard season in his eight-year NFL career with 68 receptions for 1,002 yards (14.7 avg. ) and five touchdowns.
Pryor had 77 receptions for 1,007 yards (13.1 avg.) with four touchdowns in his first full season as a wide receiver.
The Browns signed Britt to a reported four-year, $32.5 million contract, including $17 million guaranteed. Britt was a first-round draft pick (30th overall) of the Titans in 2009. He has 309 career receptions for 4,881 yards (15.8 avg.) with 30 touchdowns in his eight-year career. Britt has over 680 receiving yards in five of his eight NFL seasons.
Meanwhile, Pryor spurned the Browns offer that was reported to be similar to what Britt signed and signed a one-year deal for $6 million.
Britt was asked if he feels he needs to fill Pryor's shoes.
“I’m not filling in anybody’s shoes," Britt said shortly after signing with the Browns. "I have my own shoes to fill to tell you the truth and walk around in. Whatever he did here was on him, and good luck to his career and his success that he had here, but right now, it is moving forward. We have the players that we have here and who is going to be on the sideline that we are lining up with each other. That is our main focus is us and who is going to be here.”
Britt feels even though he's been in the NFL for nine seasons, his career is on the rise.
“I hope the future is brighter, and it’s going to be here in Cleveland," Britt said. "I know that for a fact. I’m going to work 10 times harder than I ever have. Throughout my career, I have just been learning the bumps and the hills that you’ve got to get over, and I think I have passed through those throughout my career and my age right now. I had a great coach last year in (Eagles wide receiver coach) Mike Groh to help me grow and be a better receiver on the field on my route running.”
Right now, Britt is the only veteran on the receiving corps, who has played more than one season. As it stands now, Britt and the four players the Browns drafted last season (Coleman, Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis and Jordan Payton) are expected to form this year's receiving corps. The rookie receivers from 2016 combined for 58 receptions for 698 yards and three touchdowns. Coleman had 33 of the receptions and the three touchdowns.
There has been some talk about the Browns signing a veteran receiver, such as Jeremy Maclin, recently released by the Chiefs.
Britt said he'll do whatever is necessary to help the team.
“I’m going to be whatever they need me to be, to tell you the truth," Britt said. "I’m going to do whatever they need me to do. If it’s a leader, if it’s a follower, regardless of what position they put me in and what position or what role they ask me to play or come into is what I’m going to do.”
Britt has not had a stable quarterback situation in his career with the Rams, and said that is one of the discussions he had with the Browns when deciding on signing with them.
“They said they are going to get the problem fixed, and I believe that they will," he said. "Regardless of who is the quarterback or what is going to happen throughout the season and OTAs, my job is to make the quarterback look good. Regardless of who they have under center, it is my job to make him look good.”
Britt said he's looking forward to the Browns having stability at the quarterback position, but he's ready to work with Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Brock Osweiler or rookie DeShone Kizer.
“We are going to work with the guys we have now," Britt said. "We can only hope or wish. That’s not my decision of who they bring in or who they don’t bring in. Whoever is here is going to be here. Whoever is going to be here is going to be here to help us win a championship.”
Besides the money offered to Britt, he said he believes in what Jackson and the front office are putting together with the Browns.
“To tell you the truth, a lot of things weighed in all the way from what was the best for my family and to the coaching staff," Britt said. "I [really like] Hue and the direction he has the program going. I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to be a part of the rebuilding and what they have going on.”
Britt said in the short time that he's been with the Browns, he would never know the team was just 1-15 last season.
"When you walk through the door, you'd can't tell they were 1-15 last year," Britt said. "Each and every day these guys step on the field or step into this building, it's a new season and it's like it's a winning football team."
Is Maclin a Possibility?:“Jackson was asked about reports that the Browns were inquiring bout WR Jeremy Maclin, recent released by the Chiefs.
"That’s a good thing if we did," he said. "I don’t know much about that. One thing I know about our group is that we’re going to continue to look at ways to improve our football team. I’ve said that numerous times, and I give Sashi (Brown) a lot of credit for that. I think we’re always out there looking. If there’s a player available, we’re going to take a look at him and see if he can help our football team.”
Pryor Practicing: Newly traded for S Calvin Pryor was practicing, as was fellow S and first round pick Jabrill Peppers, who had been held out of practice with an undisclosed injury. Both Pryor and Peppers were seen going through the drills with the linebackers and not the safeties at one point in practice. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to use safeties in the box to help stop the run and both players are considered good at run stopping and tackling.
Pryor is excited for the opportunity with the Browns.
"It's a fresh start," he said. "I'm excited to be in Cleveland."
Jackson said he's glad to have Pryor.
“Obviously he is a young talented player that we have added to our secondary," Jackson said. "He is a safety that we feel good about. He will play back there in the secondary at safety and we will give him an opportunity to compete and play.”
Still Out: Not practicing were: DB Howard Wilson (fractured kneecap), DL Nile Lawrence-Stample, TE J.P. Holtz. Players working with the trainers were: WR Kenny Britt, WR Corey Coleman, DB Joe Haden, OL Austin Reiter, OL Joe Thomas, OL John Greco, OL Matt McCants, OL Joel Bitonio. Haden, Bitonio, Greco and Reiter are all coming off of off-season surgeries. Coleman might be held out of next week's minicamp, as well.
Quick Hits: With projected starting wide receivers Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt sidelined, WR Ricardo Louis and WR Ranell Hall were working with the first team...WR Jordan Payton made a spectacular, leaping one-handed catch on a throw in passing drills from QB Cody Kessler.