BEREA, Ohio -- During the offseason, veteran running back Isaiah Crowell signed a one-year tender to remain with the Cleveland Browns, but the man at the top of the depth chart with the team wants a long-term contract extension.
Crowell started his career in Cleveland as an undrafted free agent in May of 2014, and after growing into the role of feature back, he would like to continue on his NFL journey in a Browns uniform.
“I'd be very happy,” Crowell said. “This is Cleveland. This is where I want to be. I'm comfortable with my teammates, love my teammates, love my coaches and just love the city of Cleveland, so this is where I want to be.”
Cleveland Browns to rely on Isaiah Crowell's rushing skills during 2017 season
After watching teammates get extensions in recent seasons and free agents become the richest players at their positions by signing with the Browns, Crowell hired one of the best agents in the business, Drew Rosenhaus, to represent him in negotiations with the team.
“I just made that decision because I felt like that was the right move for me,” Crowell said. “I just feel like it was a good move. I just feel like that's what I deserve, and I just deserve to be with the top agent, so that's what I felt.
“I feel like he's talking to the Browns. I don't know what it is right now or what the deal is right now, but, yeah, I feel like he's in heavy communication with them.”
Last year, Crowell rushed for 952 yards and seven touchdowns on 198 carries over 16 games for a Browns team that saw six players take snaps at quarterback because of injuries and ineffective play. Also, Crowell caught 40 passes for 319 yards and 14 first downs.
Crowell’s rushing yards, carries, catches, rushing and receiving first downs were single-season career highs.
“Nothing different,” Crowell said of his mindset for 2017. “I just feel like it's the same. I've got to work hard, be committed, do all the small things and just execute.
After rushing for 2,265 yards and 19 touchdowns, including eight as a rookie and seven in 2016, on 531 career carries, Crowell went in search of a long-term contract extension during the offseason, but instead, comes into 2017 looking to prove himself all over again as the Browns aim for vast improvements after a 1-15 season.
“I'm fine with that,” Crowell said of waiting until February or March to get clarity on his future. “I'm really not trying to focus on the contract right now. I'm just trying to help my teammates win games.
“Everything runs through your mind about the future because everybody wants to make sure their future is bright, but I'm not really focused on that right now. I'm just trying to focus on this year, and that's really it right now, focus on helping my team win and just having a great year.”