CB Denzel Ward (1.13.21)

CB Denzel Ward:

On how difficult it has been to miss the past two games:

“It has been tough, but it has been great seeing my teammates go out there and being able to get the job done.”

On how he felt at practice today and how close he is to 100 percent:

“I was excited just being back on the football field. Another opportunity to be able to play out there with my teammates and my coaches and just being able to run around again. It was fun.”

On Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes:

“He is obviously an exceptional talent. He has the arm strength. He can make every throw on the field. He is smart. He is everything you want in a quarterback.”

On if he is amazed by some of Mahomes’ dynamic throws:

“He has done some things that you usually do not see in the NFL, just the type of throws that he is making, no look-passes and all of that. He is a great player.”

On how is he feeling after battling COVID-19 and if he is concerned after seeing some of the lingering effects DE Myles Garrett has shared:

“I think I will be alright. I have been doing extra conditioning and working out, just trying to take the necessary steps to get my wind back and conditioning back. I think I will be ready. I will be alright.”

On his range of emotion when watching the past two games from home:

“It was tough at first because I was planning to obviously play in the [Week 17] game and then we are going through a pandemic still so it was just unfortunate to end up getting it and being out and not be able to help my teammates. They pulled it through, and it was exciting watching them play and to go out there and get the win.”

On his experience with COVID-19:

“It was a little rough. I lost my sense of smell and my sense of taste so that was really different. All of the food just tasted the same. I was really just picking food for the texture of it because I could not really taste it. It was not great. I am glad I got over it and hoping everybody still continues to stay safe and wears a mask and tries to beat it.”

On how surprised was he that he contracted COVID-19:

“I was very surprised. I wear a mask often. You just can’t take your guard down at any second. You never know when it is around.”

On how significant it is to him as a Cleveland native to be in the playoffs and how disappointed was he to miss the AFC Wild Card game:

“It was a huge win, a huge win for the organization and a huge win for the City of Cleveland and the fans. It is something that has not been done around here for a long time. Just commend my teammates, coaches and the entire organization for being able to get the win and move on to the next round.”

On if he felt like he let the team down at all when he contracted COVID-19, despite taking precautions:

“In a sense, but it is kind of uncontrollable. Obviously, you do not see COVID. We are going through a pandemic right now and not being able to be out there for the guys, but guys stepped up and were able to get the win.”

On Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill:

“He is an explosive player. He is fast. Someone who we are going to have to focus on specifically come game time.”

On how Hill’s versatility stresses defenses: 

“He is an explosive player. They are finding ways to get him the ball, whether it is running a route or handing it off to him in the backfield. He is able to make plays once he gets the ball in his hands. It is up to us to try to eliminate those explosive plays from him and the rest of their offense.”

On CB M.J. Stewart getting interceptions in the past two games and the contributions the Browns defense has received from various players this season: 

“Those picks were huge. He stepped up big time. I told him he has to run it back this week and get another interception. All of the guys stepped up and played big in these big-time games.”

On the impact of QB Baker Mayfield’s self-confidence for the team: 

“A big impact. Baker is the leader of our football team, and we are all rallying behind him. We believe in him and he believes in us so we are all playing for one another.”

On why Mayfield is so good at getting teammates to rally around him: 

“I think the passion that he has for the game of football, and guys feed off of that. They obviously see it through his play, through his excitement of other guys scoring and making plays and just the love for the game.”

On the value of having Browns players with previous playoff experience, including CB Terrance Mitchell and S Andrew Sendejo: 

“It is huge. Everybody’s value on the team is needed. Especially those guys just having that experience in the playoffs, they kind of know what to expect already and just tell us the atmosphere. We are going go out there and try to pull out the win.”

On if he knows how he contracted COVID-19: 

“No, I do not. You can’t see it so I do not know how I got it or when I got it. Just had to deal with it as it came.”

On explaining his symptoms with COVID-19, in addition to losing his sense of taste and smell: 

“I was pretty sick. Just flu-like symptoms, all of the body aches and chills and stuff like that. I was pretty laid out in my house.”

On how long he felt sick: 

“Just for a few days. I started to start feeling better after I started getting a lot of fluids in my system and was taking some medicines to try to get rid of the headaches and stuff like that. After a few days, I was feeling OK.”

On if he lost any weight while battling COVID-19: 

“No, I am good.”

On if he talked to teammates who also had COVID-19: 

“I talked to Kevin today about it and how he is feeling and everything. He is saying he is over it and he is ready.”

On how much confidence he has that he and CB Kevin Johnson can give the secondary a lift when returning this week: 

“I think highly of Kevin and I. I feel that we are players who can step in and make plays to help this team out. Regardless of if we were in there or not – obviously, we have seen it – this team could get the job done and step up to the challenge. Regardless of who is in there, guys are going to step up, play well and execute their job.”

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