CLEVELAND — For Braxton Miller, there is no place like home.
After being out of football for the 2018 season, Miller is looking to kickstart his National Football League career in his home state for the very team his father cheered for, the Cleveland Browns, as he was signed Wednesday, the final day of training camp, and went through the final practice at team headquarters in Berea.
“It felt good, man, feel like I’m home,” said Miller, a native of Huber Heights in the Dayton area and graduate of Wayne High School. “Good to be out there with new teammates. They brought me in like I was here already. Just going out there having fun, playing football. That’s it.
“I did have a couple choices and I think this fell in my lap. This is the one I really wanted to go to, being close to my son (Landon), my family. Being able to play for my home state, that’s one of the accomplishments I always wanted to do. I’m just happy to be here.”
As soon as Miller walked into the Browns’ facility, he felt appreciated and comfortable, especially after he was greeted with a “What’s Up, Buckeye?”
“It was a warm welcome for sure,” Miller said. “Everybody’s happy, everybody’s different. I can feel the vibe. I can feel the good energy around the facility and what’s going on around here. I definitely can feel good energy, positive vibes.
“The atmosphere is different when you’re going out of state to different cities. Just being back, the air that you’ve been breathing since you’ve been young, you get that sense of, ‘This is where you started.’ Just being here, it was a warm welcome when I first got here, so it’s kind of different. I feel like I’ve been here already, so that’s why I take in, ‘Wow, this is the right fit for me.’”
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Miller is a native of Springfield, Ohio and led his high school team, Huber Heights Wayne, to a state championship appearance against Lakewood St. Edward before going onto a prolific career as a dual-threat quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Miller completed 396 of his 667 attempts (59.4 percent) for 5,295 yards and 52 touchdowns against 17 interceptions before shoulder issues forced his conversion to wide receiver, where he caught 25 passes for 340 yards and three scores in his senior season.
Additionally, Miller registered 3,315 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns on 600 carries. Miller twice rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.
In two years with the Houston Texans, Miller caught 34 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns while playing in just 21 games.
“He moved around well,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “He can stick his feet in the ground and change directions. He caught the ball well. It looks like he has some juice. He has not hit that adversity yet with the pads on, but he looked good out there.”
Quarterback Baker Mayfield added, “He’s a special player, that’s why he’s still playing. So for him to be able to do that (position change) and have success is pretty neat.”
With a chance to restart his career on the line and few practices and two preseason games left before the regular season, Miller is mentally ready to do what he can to earn a spot on the 53-man roster despite the abbreviated timeframe.
“I’m going to take full advantage of it,” Miller said. “That’s what you want to do, you want to win games, and that’s the type of player I am.”