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Browns’ Hunt — Needed to ‘make better decisions’

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BEREA, Ohio — Kareem Hunt says he made “a mistake.” And now he is out to make the most of a second chance afforded to him by the Cleveland Browns.

The running back signed with the Browns in February after being cut by the Kansas City Chiefs when a video surfaced of Hunt shoving and kicking a female at a Cleveland hotel in 2018. Because of that night, Hunt will miss the first eight games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Despite that incident happening in Cleveland, Hunt feels like there was no better spot for him to play than in his hometown.

“It definitely turned out to be good landing in a situation like the Browns and being close to home,” Hunt said Wednesday at the team’s first OTA of the season. “I have a lot of supporters and my family behind me and a great organization like the Browns.”

The 23-year-old Hunt said multiple times Wednesday that he “made a mistake” and that he knows he needs to “make better decisions.” He also said the video was hard to watch and he doesn’t have an anger problem, but that he is attending anger management counseling to better deal with what happened on that 2018 evening.

“I am not an angry person,” Hunt said. “I felt like I needed to make better decisions.”

Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards in 2017, described himself as a positive person who tries to bring a smile to everybody’s face. Nick Chubb has already seen that side of his new teammate.

“He’s cool, he’s a great guy,” Chubb said. “I am enjoying having him as a teammate. He keeps you laughing and he keeps you up.”

Since returning to Cleveland this winter, Hunt has been reaching out to local high school students to talk to them about making the right decisions in their lives and to learn from any mistakes they make along the way.

“I didn’t really have anyone to come talk to me when I was in high school,” Hunt said. “I have been telling them, ‘You guys have to make smart decisions.’ I have made mistakes; everyone makes mistakes. You have to learn from your mistakes and not make the same mistakes. Think before you act. When your emotions get high, don’t act off your emotions.”

The decision to talk to high school kids was one made by Hunt, not by the organization or the league.

“That’s where it needs to come from, it needs to come from his heart and his words,” first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens said. “I have been impressed with the way he has gone about things.”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said the team has welcomed Hunt with open arms. Mayfield, who was arrested in 2017 while playing at the University of Oklahoma, knows what it is like to deal with adversity. Mayfield said he talked to Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce — Hunt’s former teammates with the Chiefs — and that the two of them vouched for the running back.

“Mistakes happen, I can speak from personal experience,” Mayfield said. “Everybody that has been around him knows who he is, so I think he is being given a second chance and will take advantage of it.”

Kitchens also believes the third-year pro from nearby Willoughby South High School will take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the Browns.

“Everybody in life is messed up and not everybody in life gets a second chance,” Kitchens said. “I think he is making the most of it. I really do. We support him in everything he does.”

At the end of the day, Hunt knows that words are just words and people won’t be able to fully trust him until he shows with his actions that he is truly sorry.

“I am going to take it day-by-day,” Hunt said. “I have to earn people’s trust and my actions are going to show.”

No matter what skeptics and critics might say, Hunt feels strongly he has learned from the 2018 incident and he will take advantage of this second opportunity.

“I know I am not going to mess this up again,” Hunt said.

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DT McCoy targeting contender – ‘I want to win’

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Free-agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who visited with the Cleveland Browns on Friday, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that no matter where he lands, the team “is going to be a contender.”

“I want to win,” the six-time Pro Bowler said. “I’m not worried about where I’m living. Wherever I got to go to win. … Everybody’s open.”

McCoy was released Monday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a move that was financially motivated. The sides could not reach an agreement over his $13 million salary, none of which was guaranteed. McCoy had three years remaining on his deal, which would have kept him with the team through 2021.

Browns general manager John Dorsey said Thursday that the meeting with McCoy would be an opportunity for both sides to see if they fit together.

Several other teams are said to be interested in McCoy, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft. McCoy is scheduled to visit the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. He has a strong relationship with Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen, who coached McCoy in Tampa in 2014-15.

Though McCoy’s numbers were down in 2018, Dorsey said he doesn’t believe the player is close to being finished.

“With regards to his ability to play the game of football, he can still play the game of football,” Dorsey said.

McCoy, 31, had six sacks and a team-leading 21 quarterback pressures in 2018, when the Bucs went 5-11 and missed the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season. He has 54½ sacks in 123 career games, was an All-Pro in 2013 and was a Pro Bowl selection every year from 2012 to 2017.

The Browns’ offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, spent three seasons in Tampa running the Bucs’ offense.

“I think a lot of Gerald,” Monken said earlier this week. “Gerald has had a tremendous career and was an outstanding football player for us. He’s a great person.”

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McNabb still stumping — ‘I am a Hall of Famer’

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Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb continues to be of the belief that he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Absolutely,” McNabb told TMZ Sports. “I’m not hesitating on that. I am a Hall of Famer. My numbers speak for itself. … My numbers are better than Troy Aikman, but he has Super Bowl rings and he’s played with Hall of Famers as well.”

It is not the first time that McNabb has said he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and has compared his numbers to those of Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who won three Super Bowls.

McNabb spent 11 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. In 167 career games, he completed 59 percent of his 5,374 pass attempts for 37,276 yards and 234 touchdowns.

By comparison, Aikman threw for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns.

McNabb was asked again if his statistics were good enough to warrant Hall of Fame induction and why he thought it hasn’t happened.

“When they look at my numbers, yeah,” McNabb told TMZ Sports, “but then they always want to add other stuff into it. ‘Was he an All-Pro? Was he this? How many Super Bowl opportunities?’ But people don’t realize how hard it is to get to the NFC Championship. And to get there five times, then make it to a Super Bowl? It’s tough.”

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Broncos need Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton to flourish quickly – Denver Broncos Blog

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It is as well worn in the NFL as the path into the training room, but most involved in the business say a player’s biggest opportunity to show improvement is between his rookie and second seasons.

The Denver Broncos need that to be true this season for wide receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton or face significant speed bumps in the team’s plan on offense.

“I’m excited about the guys that we have, it doesn’t matter how young they are,” said Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco. “I think that’s a good thing in a lot of ways. When they are as talented as I believe they are, it’s an even better thing.”

The Broncos selected Sutton in the second round and Hamilton in the fourth round a year ago. Each carried the requisite amount of expectations as last season got underway, but dove into the deep end of the pool when the Broncos traded Demaryius Thomas in October and Emmanuel Sanders suffered a season-ending torn Achilles in December.

“Last year, I really didn’t know what to expect coming into OTAs [organized team activities], coming into minicamp and training camp. All I knew was just go out there and play,” Sutton said. “But I didn’t really know how to really work on my technique.”

As Sutton’s playing time increased with Thomas’ departure and Sanders’ injury, he suddenly found himself across from No. 2 and then No. 1 cornerbacks more and more. His size (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) and athleticism were muted at times by those defensive backs, who knew how to keep him away from the ball given Sutton was still learning on the job.

As a result, Sutton turned only half of his targets (84) into receptions (42). And while the Broncos continue to envision Sutton as a matchup advantage in the red zone, he had just four touchdown receptions.

Hamilton played few snaps in the team’s first seven games and had just one reception before a knee injury slowed him for much of the remainder of the year. He finished with 30 receptions, 25 of those over the last four games of the season, with 2 touchdowns.

“The knee was still bothering me,” Hamilton said. “I was probably playing at like 70, 80 percent in those last couple games. It wasn’t too much longer after the [season finale] that the knee started to feel a lot better. Now I’m coming out here it feels great. The last four or five games, I probably felt it the most.”

Sanders believes he will be ready to return by the start of the regular season, but he has to be considered at least a bit of a question mark until he can prove it. The Broncos didn’t make a significant signing at the position in free agency and didn’t use a draft pick on a wide receiver until they picked Juwann Winfree in the sixth round.

That puts Sutton and Hamilton at the front of the line as the Broncos sort out a new offense.

“All of that WR1, 2, 3, if [Sanders] comes back and all of that other stuff — I think of it as I want the ball as many times as I can possibly get it,” Hamilton said. “I want to make as many plays as I possibly can. I come in and I have the same mentality as Courtland, ready to step up.”

It’s all a testament to the youth at the skill positions overall in the Broncos’ offense. Sutton, Hamilton, and running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman are entering their second seasons, while rookie tight end Noah Fant was the team’s first-round pick in April.

“I just knew, coming off last season, that I just wanted to basically go after that and be 10 times better this season,” Hamilton said. “Whatever position that puts me in, if I perform during training camp, Coach is going to see that I have a lot more reliability and he can put more reliability on guys like myself and Courtland going forward.”

“I’m definitely looking forward to capitalizing on that more this season, being able to put more in the end zone, and take advantage of that,” Sutton said. “Take advantage of what God gifted me with — this body, this size, this speed, the athleticism, being able to take advantage of that and use that against the 5-9 or 5-10 corner that we go against.”

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