BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns wrapped up the offseason program with the final minicamp practice session in Berea on Thursday morning, and now, players will have nearly six weeks away from the facility before reporting for training camp in late July.
But before the Browns broke camp for the summer, coach Freddie Kitchens addressed the media in Berea, and had a lot to say on a variety of topics.
Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Europe that helped the allied forces make inroads to victory over the axis powers in World War II, and to commemorate the history-making military operation, the Browns welcomed several veterans and the Under Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, to practice.
“What those guys did and the sacrifices they did, it is unbelievable,” Kitchens said. “I read a couple of books concerning D-Day, and what those guys walked into without knowing is remarkable.”
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has a lot of off-the-field interests, but he is never far away from the game of football, even when away from his Cleveland teammates.
However, Kitchens is advising Mayfield to step away from the game and tend to the busy offseason break ahead, as in a few weeks’ time, he will marry his fiancée, Emily Wilkinson.
“He better get away because I think he has a big date coming up at some point,” Kitchens said with a laugh. “I think he is pretty tough, but I think who he is going to be going home with is a little tougher.”
Keeping things 100
The workload of NFL coaches has become the stuff of legends, as most assistants, coordinators and head coaches study film and formulate game plans late in the evening hours, especially Monday through Thursdays after a Sunday game.
Rather than count the hours worked, Kitchens prepares to make the hours count.
“I am not going to pretend coach,” Kitchens said. “Anybody that asks me, I will tell them we will be here until we get the work done, and when we get the work done, we are not going to be here. We are not going to pretend.
“I have not been one of them, but I have seen it. I am not going to pretend coach. We are going to make sure that we prepare and we do what we are supposed to do in our part of the game to put us in the best situations. I am not going to be up here wasting a lot of time that makes me be here until 2 o’clock in the morning, but if it takes it -- ask our offensive staff -- we will be here.”
In it for right reasons
Tackle Larry Ogunjobi has been an impactful player in the interior of the defensive line, and although it is tough to evaluate his productivity without fully-padded practices, he has set a standard that Kitchens expects will continue during the 2019 season.
“When we get up every day, we have a choice to make -- either do it right or do it wrong in everything that you do,” Kitchens said.
“Larry is one of those guys. You can count on him. He is in it for the right reasons, and he is going to do everything he can to do it the right way. If he does that, Larry is going to be fine. Larry has had a good spring. Larry has had a really good spring.”
Duke Johnson Jr.
Johnson Jr. requested a trade early in the offseason and skipped the voluntary portion of the workouts before reporting for mandatory minicamp in Berea this week. When speaking to the media, Johnson Jr. made it known that he wants to be traded.
However, the Browns remain convinced that Johnson Jr. can be impactful in 2019.
“He can be very special in space,” Kitchens said. “I do not know if you guys know it, but I was in Arizona with David Johnson. He can be very special in space. That is his game. Duke is a good player. I do not know where all the other stuff comes from.”