DT Larry Ogunjobi (1.4.21)

DT Larry Ogunjobi:

On his emotions making it to the playoffs, especially after experiencing a 0-16 season: 

“Great. It is a surreal feeling. It is a blessing. I am just glad to see this thing through. It is a long time coming. I am just very blessed. Very blessed. A lot of hard work and dedication went into this. The job is not done yet. Excited for another opportunity to go out there and play.”

On playing the Steelers in back-to-back weeks and what he expects from the matchup facing Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: 

“That is a difference playing Ben, but like I said, just another amazing opportunity. Just kind of how the cards fell. It is just another opportunity to go out there and play Browns football. We are just excited for the opportunity. Like I said, the job is not done. The focus is just once again on the going 1-0 this week, focusing on what we have to do, the corrections from the past game last night and just figuring out what we can do to win.”

On losing DE Olivier Vernon to injury and how Vernon stepped up this season: 

“I am hurting for my dawg right now. That is big brother. Hurting extremely for him. Praying for him. It is tough. It is the nature of the game. He is in high spirits. He has been a major, major contributor to what we have done this season and helped us win a lot of big games. I can attest to how important his pieces were for this. I am just praying for him. I hope he gets better soon. It is just really tough. It is hard, but we have that next man up mentality. We have had it all season, especially with know everything that happened from COVID to injuries. The next guy has to step up.”

On how much the team will lean on the Browns players with playoff experience this week, including DE Adrian Clayborn: 

“It is good. Experience is a major factor. We have a lot of good guys and older guys who have been there before and can talk us through it and kind of just tell us what to expect. Everybody understands that kind of yesterday was a playoff game – you win or you go home. Kind of understanding that mentality that now you do not get a next week if you do not win. The guys understand that. The guys understand what is at stake and are ready to take on the challenge.”

On balancing the excitement of finally reaching the playoffs and knowing there is more that the team wants to accomplish: 

“It is just kinds of the mentality that we have had all season. I feel like the difference this year is just we do not get super hyped off of one win. I feel like going through the years, sometimes we would win games and you would feel like, ‘Oh we just won like you a playoff game or something,’ but it was just one win. What we have done a very good job of this year is just staying focused on the task at hand and knowing that there is a bigger goal ahead of us, just taking it week by week and understanding that you have to go 1-0 every week and it not given, it is earned. You have to put in the work, you have to handle stuff in the film room and you have to handle stuff on Zoom calls, these meetings and in practice just to give yourself an opportunity to have a chance to win.”

On if he reflected on the 0-16 season after the win at all last night: 

“Yeah, after the time expired, I prayed. I thanked God. I thought about my parents being in the stands and just their excitement and just being able to see my mom extremely happy and my pops was surreal for me because I know that they were right by my side when I went through that 0-16 season. Like I said, it is a blessing to be a part of something special to turn this thing around. It is just amazing. I am excited.”

On the Steelers’ two-point conversion attempt and if he helped affect Steelers QB Mason Rudolph’s throw: 

“I am always happy to be a part. I know AC (Clayborn) jumped up and tried to use his ups to knock the ball away. Once again, it is just everybody doing their job, playing to the best of your ability, doing your role and just finding a way to win. It takes all 11 and then 22.”

On if Rudolph was able to keep the Browns’ pressure at bay with more quick throws: 

“Yeah, a lot of quick passes and then some deep shots.”

On how LB Jacob Phillips performed as the defense’s signal caller yesterday with LB B.J. Goodson out: 

“He did amazingly well. Of course, you are going to have your rookie hiccups, but to step in a role in a big game like that and play as well as he did is a testament to how much he wants it and just how much he has been learning from B.J. and from the coaches. He is just a baller. I am excited for him, and he is going to continue to play well.”

On how unflappable the Browns defense has been this season with multiple players stepping up with others out due to injury or the reserve/COVID-19 list: 

“I just think it is the mentality of the team. Like I said, when you go through things it is all about… Life is going to throw you curveballs all of the time, but I feel like the biggest way and the testament to the man you are and the resolve you have is just how you respond. The guys are doing a great job just responding. Guys that step up are hungry, they want to play and they want to help the team win. This is a special opportunity. There are guys who played in the league for years who have not been to the playoffs. When you are playing for something, you are playing for something special and you have the opportunity to do something that has not been done in a long time in your personal career, I feel like guys understand that, we are playing for each other and we just know how much it means to everybody.”

On facing Roethlisberger, given how he has played against the Browns in the past: 

“The biggest thing for us is just focusing on what we have to do. A lot of times, you can get caught up in everything else that is going on. We have respect for them. Like you just said, it has been kind of a one-sided battle for a long time, but this is a different team. That is it, it is just a different team. I think that you see it on the film and you see on the field on Sundays. You just see the energy that the players, the coaches and just Cleveland in general has. Like I said, it is just a different team. Once again, we are looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity.”

On his reaction to DE Myles Garrett speaking with Rudolph after the game: 

“It is big. It speaks to his maturity and his character as a person. Never one time throughout the whole situation did I doubt the person Myles was. For him to kind of extend that arm out and kind of just squash it was big for everybody.”

On being named the local PFGWA’s ‘Good Guy Award’ winner for cooperation and professionalism with the media and Garrett being named the ‘Joe Thomas Award’ Most Valuable Player of the Year: 

“It is always cool to share an award with your boy.”

On how many times his parents have seen him play: 

“More than I can count. It was a big deal for them coming to this one. I just had a feeling it was going to be special, and I just wanted them to be there when it happened. I am glad they were able to come.”

On where his parents live now: 

“Greensboro, North Carolina.”

On if his parents being at the game will be what he remembers most from yesterday: 

“Yeah, just my parents smiling and seeing them. A lot of times when you go through things, like I said, it is all about how you respond. The moments I can imagine when we went through the 0-16 season, it was kind of difficult to kind of see, but you always trust the process. My parents always told me, ‘Just keep working. Keep trusting. It is going to turn around.’ I am glad they were able to see it when it happened.”

On the appreciation he has for Head Coach Kevin Stefanski staying so even-keel throughout the adversity this season: 

“I like it. I am pretty even-keel. I try to stay cool about everything. He just does a great job of keeping everybody focused and locked in on the task at hand. Like I said, this is not one of those things where you tear the city down, start lighting fires and all of that kind of stuff. Like (WR) Jarvis (Landry) has said and so many players have said on the team, the job is not done. We still have work to do. We still have to go and have a great week of work, a great week of film and a great week of preparation and go out and find a way to win on Sunday. That is the main focus. We are happy and we are excited to have this opportunity to be in this space, but the goal is not to just go to the dance; it is to find a way to win it.”

On if the Steelers OL played differently with Rudolph than with Roethlisberger and if the Browns defense will study more film from yesterday’s game or the first matchup against the Steelers: 

“We are just going to study everything. We have to be prepared. It is a playoff game. It is win or go home. We are going to look at everything and find a way.”

 

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