BEREA, Ohio -- Rex Grossman waited a long time for his phone to ring and an NFL team to be on the other end of it during the offseason.
And when that call did come, the Cleveland Browns were on the other end to offer him a free-agent contract at the same time that Grossman was undergoing a workout with the Miami Dolphins.
"It took a little while, but I'm glad to be here," Grossman said following Tuesday's training-camp practice in Berea. "I have been in South Florida training with my wife and hanging and having fun.
"I don't why it took so long, but I'm glad I'm here to tell you the truth. Better late than never, and I'm thrilled that I'm here."
In order to make room on the roster for Grossman, who brings with him to Cleveland a 25-22 record as a starter in the NFL, the Browns waived fellow quarterback Tyler Thigpen.
"We're always going to be in a situation where if we feel like we can make our roster better, we'll make that move," Browns coach Mike Pettine said after practice. "He's a guy that's very familiar with (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan's) system. We appreciate what Tyler did for us, but we just felt like we wanted to get Rex in here and just see where he's at and what he can do.
"I think he'll help the whole room, not just Johnny (Manziel). It's a guy who I think has been in it now. I think he'll help that whole room just as far as the stuff that he's gone through with a lot of the plays. He knows the system as well as he does, and he'll be able to give them a quarterback's perspective instead of just the coaches' perspective."
The former first-round pick of the Chicago Bears has completed 863 of 1,562 passes for 10,232 yards and 56 touchdowns against 60 interceptions in 54 games with the Bears, Houston Texans (2009) and Washington Redskins (2010-2013).
While training and waiting, Grossman said he spent part of the offseason searching for an opportunity where he could compete for a starting quarterback job. However, according to him, that opportunity "just wasn't in the cards."
"I just want to help this team win, no matter if it's going out there playing or helping or just being somebody they can rely on that can go in the game and play, or whatever it is," Grossman said. "Whatever my job is, I just want to contribute to the Browns winning games.
"I'm just going to go out and compete and go and play and practice and get better and see where I'm at, and if anybody has any questions or I feel the need to maybe help out, then I will. I haven't shied back from that in the past, and I'm here to just help."
For Grossman, just helping might include mentoring a rookie playmaker at quarterback, much like he did during his last four seasons with the Redskins.
During his final two seasons in Washington, Grossman served as a mentor to Robert Griffin III, and in Cleveland, he will work alongside another Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback with a penchant for making plays on the run in Johnny Manziel.
"I think both players are different," Grossman said. "I think they can run around a little bit, but that's about the only similarity. The other similarity is (Manziel's) bringing along a very high-profile rookie who has a similar style, but it's about the team, and it's about the team coming together, the offensive line, wide receivers, running backs, quarterback, everybody jelling together with what this offense is supposed to do."
In addition to mentoring a young quarterback in Washington, Grossman worked closely with first-year Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who held the same position in Washington from 2010-2013.
"Everybody has very similar play concepts, but it's the details of his offense that are unbelievable, just how everything goes together really well and makes sense," Grossman said. "When he gets in a rhythm calling plays, it's the best I've ever seen.
"That's one of the biggest reasons I wanted to be here, just being around a coordinator that demands respect from all the players, but he gets along with everyone. People look up to him. He's a great coordinator, and I'm just happy that I get a chance to be around him."
DIFFERENCE IN EXPERIENCE
While the Browns already have one experienced quarterback on the roster in Brian Hoyer, they pursued Grossman because he has started 47 games in the NFL, as opposed to just four for Hoyer.
"Brian is in a unique situation," Pettine said. "He does have years in the league, but it's hard to put that veteran label on him because he doesn't have that many career starts. In some aspects, he is a veteran because he's been around for so long in the league, but he's closer to being a rookie just as far as the number of snaps he's taken in live game situations."
Early Tuesday, the Sports Business Journal reported the Browns' preseason opener against the Detroit Lions was seen by 2.82 million people on the NFL Network, which shattered the network's previous ratings record for an exhibition game.
The previous record audience for a preseason game was 2.07 million for the New Orleans Saints-Pittsburgh Steelers meeting in the 2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.
"It's not a surprise to hear that," Pettine said. "I think the phenomenon still surprises all of us. We want attention on this team because we're a good football team and we're winning games. It's nice to have the media attention here, but we want to get to the point where it's for the right reasons."