LB Sione Takitaki (1.1.24)

Hey, Sione, just second time for you personally, obviously, in the playoffs. So, wondering what you remember from a couple years ago with that postseason and how maybe you can help some of the younger guys on that defense as you guys get ready these next two weeks here. 

“Yeah. Yeah, very exciting times for the Cleveland Browns, but our focus this week is for the Bengals. And going 1-0 this week, it’s easy to look forward, but our whole focus right now, this week is to go 1-0 against the Bengals.”


Jerome (Ford) said something similar. Anytime we asked him about the postseason, do you feel like that’s very much, everyone in the locker room is kind of on the same page with that player wise?

“Right, yeah. Everyone in the building, our focus is to give Cincinnati, we’re playing the Cincinnati Bengals. Our focus is there. Going 1-0 and then we’ll go from there.”


Well, I’m going to ask you about the playoffs, too, Sione, but I’m just wondering, having been there in 2020 and then not getting there the last two years, how gratifying is it as one of those guys that has been around here to get back to the playoffs? 

“Yeah, very exciting times for the Cleveland Browns, the city. To clinch that win, to be able to go to the playoffs, you know, it’s definitely fun, can’t wait. But again, I sound like a broken record, this week the focus is on the Cincinnati Bengals. You know, they’re going to keep score out there. We want to go out there and get that win, and we’re excited for this game.”


Did this weekend give you an opportunity, though? I think I saw you maybe at the Cavs game this weekend. Did it give you an opportunity to kind of feel how excited this city is and kind of feel some of that? 

“Yeah. You know, went to the Cavs game, they put me on the jumble tron. I was like, ‘What the Heck [laughing.]’ But it was fun. And even when eating with my wife at restaurants and stuff, people are coming up and giving high fives, a bunch of fist pumps. Like I said, exciting times for the Cleveland Browns, for the city, it’s real exciting times. But we got the Cincinnati Bengals, man. We’re wanting to go 1-0 this week.”


Hey, Sione. So you’re going on the road this weekend, and then you’re going on the road the weekend after that. The fact that the team and the defense played as well as it did in Houston after struggling some throughout the season. How much confidence does that give you? 

“Yeah, a ton of confidence. Obviously, we needed to play better on the road. We have the last few weeks and we got to carry that going into this week. Division opponent with the Cincinnati Bengals, and they’re going to come out there and try to get that win. So, we’ll be packing our A-game ready to go.”


Was there anything different about that trip than the previous ones that helped you guys play so much better? 

“Yeah, a bunch of things, but I felt like we emphasized playing better on the road, you know, just struggling early on, and we emphasized that knowing that we got to play better on the road. And I feel like went out there when we played in Houston to execute it, and that’s going to be the same mindset this week, going on the road, playing a good game, getting that W.”


Yes. Just wondering with you guys really emphasizing going one and o going down there and being the Bengals, why do you think it is so important to finish strong and keep this thing going as opposed to maybe resting some muscles and joints and whatnot? 

“Yeah, it’s important to focus on, it’s like kind of the saying be where your feet are. I feel like that’s important for us leading into the playoffs. You know what I mean? We have to focus on this game and it’ll set everything up after that and you don’t want to look too far ahead. Everybody in the locker room is focused on this week and going 1-0, they’re going to keep score. A division opponent, that’s a big game to a lot of guys in the locker room, including myself and we’re ready for it.”


How about the fact that you might have some guys coming back? How exciting is that? The notion that perhaps Grant (Delpit) might come back and Anthony (Walker) and Ogbo (Okornkwo) and some of those guys. 

“Yeah, that’s very exciting. You know what I mean? For those guys to continue to get healthy, come back, you know what I mean? We don’t want to see those guys injured and I know those guys are fighting to get back. So, if those guys are ready, let’s roll.”


You talked about the excitement from the fans and all of that and the next couple of weeks being on the road. How do you think the energy that you guys were able to feel from the city on Thursday night in that crowd, you guys called it electric. How do you think you guys are going to be able to take that and the energy throughout this week and kind of carry it over with you as you are heading to the road this week and the week after for the playoffs?

“Yeah, the fans are electric. I feel like when we play in front of them, you know what I mean? We play some of our best ball. And we’ll be on the road, but I feel like the Browns, we travel well, so we’ll have those fans in the stands, you know what I mean, cheering us on. But, yeah, I go back to just focusing on our opponent this week, doing what we can to stay focused so that we can go out there and perform at our best. And everything else is extra with the fans. And we want to play well for those guys, too.”


You guys take notes. When you see a Browns fan in the crowd on the road, you notice how many they come out and how hard they travel?

“Yeah, I feel like everywhere we played away games, we always see some Cleveland Browns fans out there cheering us on, even you know when we’re walking out of the tunnel hearing them cheer. So, we know they’re there. Try not to focus too much in the stands, but you know what I mean? We know they’re there and their cheers are there for sure.”

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