If anyone recognizes the dramatic change in the atmosphere around the Cleveland Browns, Christian Kirksey is that person.
The linebacker has been with the Browns since 2014, which means he has been part of their lowest of lows, including a 0-16 finish in 2017.
‘Excited to get back to work, excited to be back in Cleveland’
Now, as the Browns begin offseason workouts this week, he’s getting to enjoy the surging optimism from the difference-making players the team recently added – including receiver Odell Beckham Jr. – after last year’s 7-8-1 record.
“Excited to get back to work, excited to be back in Cleveland,” Kirksey told Bob Papa and Charlie Weis on The Opening Drive. “The energy is amazing right now, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Just being here for six years, man, and seeing a dynamic offense like that, the pieces that we’re putting together, I’m excited. I don’t think nobody is … as excited as me on the team just from being here as long as I’ve been. It’s definitely a blessing.”
‘It’s still the NFL, it’s still hard work to win ballgames’
Kirksey is mindful of the fact that, while the outside world is over the top with its enthusiasm about the Browns, it’s important to maintain perspective on the inside.
“We just want to block out the noise, because when we were doing bad, we were the talk of the NFL as being a bad team. Now we’re putting the pieces together looking like a good team now, we’re the talk of the NFL.”
“We look really good on paper,” he said. “But you’ve got to put the pieces together and you’ve got to work. It’s still the NFL, it’s still hard to win ballgames. We’re not winning games just by paper. We just want to block out the noise, because when we were doing bad, we were the talk of the NFL as being a bad team. Now we’re putting the pieces together looking like a good team now, we’re the talk of the NFL.
‘We’re not trying to get overly excited’
“So it’s like, we’ve got to just cancel out everything (else) and just go to work. And control what we can control and pay attention to the guys in the room and just get prepared for the season. Now, we’re just focused. We’re not trying to get overly excited or always looking at expectations and saying, ‘OK, we’ve got to be this team, we’ve got to do this.’ We’ve got to control our identity and what we want to be right now and I just block out everything and get to work.”
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