CLEVELAND — Editor's note: The above video is from an unrelated story featuring Denzel Ward published on February 28, 2022.
Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback (CB) Denzel Ward, drafted by the Cleveland Browns No. 4 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, officially signed his five-year contract extension as reported earlier in the week.
RELATED: Cleveland Browns and cornerback Denzel Ward agree to historic 5-year, $100.5 million contract extension
Ward made a statement to the media following signing of his new deal:
"Excited and blessed to play for my hometown team. I want to thank the Browns organization, the Haslams and Johnson family, Andrew Berry, Coach Kevin Stefanski and the rest of the Browns organization for continuing to believe in the homegrown kid and allowing me to represent this organization."
The two sides put pen to paper making Ward the highest paid CB in NFL history with a five-year, $100.5 million contract extending his stay in a Browns uniform through the 2027 season.
Ward, who turns 25 next week (April 28), is tied for fourth in Browns franchise history in pass breakups through the first 52 games of his career. He is seventh in the league overall in pass breakups over that same time span.
Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry weighed in on Ward after the contract extension was announced:
Denzel Ward has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL since his rookie season in 2018. Rarely do you find a player who has performed at such a high-level over a multi-year period at his age. This is a testament not only to Denzel’s talent but also his work ethic, drive and intelligence. ‘Homegrown’ takes a deeper meaning with Denzel since he has spent his entire life both living in and giving back to Ohio communities. We look forward to seeing Denzel continue his bright career and philanthropic initiatives in Cleveland for many years to come.
Ward’s head coach Kevin Stefanski continued the praise for his efforts on and off the field:
I’m really excited for Denzel and his family. It’s a well-deserved reward for his outstanding play on the field and work in our community. Denzel has the attitude that he is committed to constantly getting better as a player. We know he’s going to continue to work with our coaching staff to improve and we are very happy that he will continue to be an important part of our defense for many years to come.
The Macedonia native’s philanthropic efforts have ingrained him as an integral member of the community over his time in a Cleveland Browns uniform. Ward is the founder of the “Make Them Know Your Name” Foundation and was recognized for his work in the community by being named the Browns’ recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2021.