CLEVELAND -- Over his 13-year NFL career with seven different teams, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown has learned plenty of lessons, and he has never been shy about sharing that knowledge with teammates, whether or not he was the starter.
The 2016 season has been no different, as McCown helped Robert Griffin III, who was named the starting quarterback prior to the preseason, and mentored rookie signal-caller Cody Kessler, who moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart heading into this week’s home opener against the Baltimore Ravens when RGIII suffered a broken bone in his shoulder in the 29-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday.
“He has been in the league now for 15 years,” Kessler said of McCown. “It is his 15th year playing football and he still takes the time to help me out and really stop in-between things. Just last week, he called me out. We were doing scout-team and he called me out there and he said, ‘Hey, watch how I do this.’
“I watched him, and he’s like, ‘Alright, now go in there,’ and I ran in there and did it, and then, he was just kind of rooting me on and helping me out. It is really cool to have a guy that is such a great player and a vet like that really reach out to a rookie, and then, help you out and want to take the time to see you get better.”
With there being a 15-year age gap between McCown and Kessler, the rookie quarterback has memories of watching his mentor beginning his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals back in the 2002 season.
“I remember watching him,” Kessler said. “I watched football all the time. I remember watching him playing games and here I am in the same locker room and kind of using him as my mentor I guess in a way and helping me out, which is really cool how things work out. I could not be more blessed or more honored to learn from a great guy.”
Although Kessler was a third-round pick of the Browns out of the University of Southern California in the 2016 NFL Draft, he was not on the field in the opener, and instead, watched a quarterback Cleveland passed on drafting, Carson Wentz, complete 22 of his 37 throws for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
While rookies around the league get their chances, Kessler will continue doing what is necessary for if and when that opportunity arises with the Browns this season.
“My situation is completely different than everyone else,” Kessler said. “You have to kind of take your own preparation, your own way of going about things and when you do get that chance, you have to make the most of it. That is kind of what this game is. It is about opportunities. You may get one, you may get 20, you may never get one, but whenever it does come and if it does, you just want to be ready and be prepared.”