Pettine looking to quiet noise in Cleveland

New Browns coach Mike Pettine is approaching the Cleveland job with a positive mindset. Come inside for a full report and HD video of Pettine's time at the podium in Indianapolis, where he referred to himself as "the proverbial guy from the mail room."

INDIANAPOLIS – New Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine is in the business of quieting the noise in the Rock and Roll Capital of the World.

As he addressed reporters Saturday at the 2014 NFL Draft Combine, Pettine acknowledged there's been plenty of negativity and distractions swirling around the franchise this offseason, not the least of which was a winding search for a head coach that landed on Pettine in late January.

The Browns' new head man is ready to put it all in the past.

"That is potentially an accurate statement," Pettine responded when asked if there's perpetually noise in Cleveland. "My goal is to make it quiet … I know a lot has happened, but it's my goal and (that of) the staff that I've hired to get things to quiet down and win some football games."

Part of Pettine's plan is to create a locker room environment conducive to winning and distraction-free.

"I think my job as a head coach is to build a work atmosphere where guys are like me, they can't wait to get to work in the morning. We're going to have to be that way. I'm not going to rule with an iron fist," described Pettine of his style. "I'm a big fan of the servant-leadership model. ‘What do you need to be successful?' That's my job to remove those obstacles."

If that seems atypical for the mindset of an NFL head coach, it's because Pettine, who described this as his "dream job," took a different and seldom-traveled route to his current post, originally making the jump straight from the high school ranks to the pros in 2002 when he left North Penn High School (PA) for a position with the Baltimore Ravens.

"I'm the proverbial guy from the mail room," said Pettine, who readily admitted to having a chip on his shoulder. "I don't have the pedigree that other guys have. It's helped motivate me."

Pettine isn't the only person in a new leadership role for the Browns these days, as Ray Farmar was promoted to general manager on Feb. 11, replacing the fired John Lombardi. Cleveland's head coach said the shake-up above him was a bit of a shock to the system, but he's hitting the ground running with Farmar.

"I'm full speed ahead with Ray Farmar," Pettine continued. "We have a shared vision. Neither of us had to stray far from our core philosophy – whether it's the draft, free agency, football from A to Z. Even though he's a Duke guy and I'm a Virginia guy, we see things the same."

Of course there's also the whole reported trade-for-Jim-Harbaugh corollary that popped up yesterday. Naturally Pettine, hired after that reported coup, had to answer to that, and the entertaining former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator didn't disappoint.

"I got a phone call saying that report was about to come out," explained Pettine," and I shot the messenger a little bit because I asked ‘How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?' Then in my next sentence I either used the word ‘flying' followed by something or referenced a part of a rat's body.

"I think that's noise. That's something that has no bearing on my job moving forward, and that's a critical thing. A big part of being an NFL head coach is dealing with the noise, dealing with the distractions. Just add that one to the list."

With 10 draft picks this May, Pettine provided no real indication on which positions the Browns would target, but he did open up on two quarterbacks presently on the roster.

"Brian Hoyer, who I think is ahead of schedule with his rehab, I've always admired him from afar. We played against him last year, and unfortunately that was a game where he was injured," recalled Pettine. "But you're always looking to make your team better. We'll do a lengthy evaluation of what's available in the draft, what's already on campus (at quarterback)."

The take on former first-round pick Brandon Weeden was decidedly less favorable. Said Pettine: "We evaluate players based on what they've done in the league. We have our opinion … and as things move forward they'll shake themselves out."

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