CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku was deactivated by coach Freddie Kitchens for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, marking the first time in his three-year NFL career that he was a healthy scratch.
Following the film sessions and meetings with coaches Monday, Njoku spoke with the media about the deactivation, which he found out about on the day of the game.
“It is what it is,” Njoku said in an impromptu press conference that lasted less than three minutes. “I can’t really say anything upon it because it wasn’t my request, so I’ve just got to keep going.”
Njoku said he was not given a reason why he was benched for the game, which the Browns lost, 38-24, but stated “it didn’t hurt” not being able to play. Also, according to Njoku, there is no ill will harbored toward Coach Kitchens for his decision.
“Yeah, we’re still riding till the wheels fall off,” Njoku said. “We’re working to just do the best we can do to finish strong.”
Njoku was active for a Week 14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium, but a pass over the middle was ruled an interception when the ball was wrestled away from the Browns’ tight end by a defensive back.
That was Njoku’s first game action since he suffered a broken wrist in a Week 2 “Monday Night Football” matchup against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and had surgery to repair the damage.
“It’s surgery, you know,” Njoku said. “It obviously takes a while, but like I said, I just try to just give my all every week and go from there.”
Until now, Njoku has not dealt with major injury concerns in his professional career, as he played in 34 straight games since joining the Browns via a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami (Florida).
In three games this season, Njoku has five receptions in ten targets for 41 yards and one touchdown, which came in the Browns’ 43-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the 2019 regular-season opener at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Sunday, September 8.
“It’s time to focus on the Ravens,” Njoku said. “It is what it is. It’s time to focus on the Ravens.”
By focusing on the Ravens, Njoku means doing everything throughout the week to make sure he is ready to go in the Browns’ 2019 home finale against an AFC North Division championship team that is still stinging from a Week 4 loss to Cleveland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and is in need of a win to secure home-field advantage for the AFC Playoffs.
“Just continue working, focus on what I can control, work every day in practice and go from there,” Njoku said.
“Just got to keep working. That said, this is just another day. You’ve just got to continue to work and control what you can control.”