Christian Kirksey has started 32 consecutive games at linebacker for the Cleveland Browns.
The team only won one of them.
‘Just look at the guys on the roster’
So why is Kirksey so enthusiastic about the 2018 season, which the Browns open Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers?
“Just look at the guys on the roster,” Kirksey told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “You’ve got guys that are young, they’re hungry. Guys that are up-and-coming, guys who just created the playoff run in Buffalo last year, our quarterback, Tyrod (Taylor). He took those guys to the playoffs. And Jarvis Landry brings a different energy to the receiver group. Then you’ve got a guy who, when he was in the league — he was arguably a top-three receiver in Josh Gordon — coming back.
‘You see it all mixing together’
“Then you have the draft picks, (quarterback) Baker Mayfield and (cornerback) Denzel Ward. And you’ve got other additional pieces, (safety) Damarious Randall, this guy who’s coming from a winning organization (Green Bay). Even winning offensive coordinators like Todd Haley (from Pittsburgh). You’ve got guys who’ve bought in and guys who’ve been there, guys who’ve been to the playoffs. Our general manager, John Dorsey. He put that whole Kansas City thing together by the draft picks, Travis Kelce, things like that. So it’s like you see it all mixing together, and it’s just a lot of excitement.”
Kirksey has seen plenty of encouraging signs throughout training camp, and in the days leading up to the opener.
‘It’s just a different feel’
“You can see the competitive attitude and the competitive nature of our team in practice,” Kirksey said. “It’s just a different feel. It’s a lot to be excited for. And then it’s the Browns. Cleveland, whether we lost so many games or won so many games, our fans treat us the best. They’re a part of our energy, too. They’re excited, we’re excited, so it’s just like letting that momentum carry out throughout the season.”
Do the Browns expect to see disgruntled running back Le’Veon Bell on the field Sunday?
‘I think we’ll have a good game plan for them’
“You’re preparing for Le’Veon, you’re preparing for James Conner, whoever’s going to be in the backfield, I think we’ll have a good game plan for them,” Kirksey said. “But there’s no greater feeling than to go against a division rival, first game, first game at home, and this game counts as two. So I’m excited.”
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