S Juan Thornhill (5.24.23)
I’m guessing you have a baseball background after watching you throw the first pitch last night?
I got a little bit. The last time I played baseball, I was probably like nine or 10years old. I mean, I used to play in the backyard all the time, so that’s why I kind of know how to handle a baseball. Most football players never play baseball and they try to throw the baseball with it right directly in their palm, so they never can get it there. But I know actually how to throw a baseball a little bit.”
I heard Anthony Walker was struggling getting ready for his first pitch?
I didn’t see it, but I also heard the same thing. So I’m excited to see his pitch, because it’s going to be bad. I already know it is.
Did Chiefs TE Travis Kelce make you nervous after throwing his first pitch?
No, I wasn’t nervous. I’m a natural athlete. I’m a natural athlete. So the only thing I wanted to do, I wanted to get to the plate. I wanted to actually throw a strike. It was outside a little bit, but I’m still proud. Proud of my pitch.
Why did you want to wear No. 1?
So me in Kansas City, I was number 22, and when I got here, Grant was already number 22, so I’m not the type of guy that will try to pay for a jersey or anything. I just felt like it was just time for a new start and No. 1, it seemed nice. There’s a nice catch to it, like the chosen one. The one any only. So, yeah, that’s why I picked one. And it also carries you in a different way. Like you have to carry yourself when you’re number on, because everybody feels like you’re like that guy. And I want to be seen as that, because it just pushes me to better each and every day.
Do you feel different wearing number one?
I do. I do. I feel great. When you wear number one, you just feel like you got to look nice, you got to play better. I like that feeling.
Can you just sort of address having fun with the fans on social media?
So my tweets are not really anything negative. It’s just like in Kansas City, I use them because that’s where I was before, but in Kansas City, like, those fans there, I would not say too cocky. Like they were just like, ‘we’re going to win this week.’ And the players can feel that. Like when you walk into the stadium, you know that you’re going to win and everyone is behind you. You don’t want to be walking around with fans saying, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to win or not. I hope we win this year.’ We don’t want to see that as a team. We want them guys to be behind us, pushing us every day, and like, we’re going to win. And once you have your fans backing you up, they make us want to play harder for you, as fans.
Can you understand three Super Bowl appearances in Kansas City and the Browns have never been there?
It’s all good. Like I said, it’s a new start. Whatever happened last year is last year. This is a new year and this is what we’re working for, to get to the Super Bowl this season.
But I mean, as far as the fans go?
Yeah, I mean, that’s true. When you’re winning a lot, you’re not going to sit here and expect to lose. So the fans definitely play a big role in that.
How would you describe the difference in Kansas City fans and Browns fans during your small interactions on social media?
I can definitely see a lot of similarities. Like they’re definitely confident. They support the team, for sure. I’m not saying they don’t. And I heard a lot. Once I got here, they said the Brown fans are crazy–they be going nuts on game day. And in Kansas City, it was the same way. So I would say they’re very similar in that way.
So what will you do to help this Browns team get to the Super Bowl?
I mean, they brought me here to win, so they brought in a great guy to help go get the football, get turnovers, get the ball back to Deshaun and the offense. So that’s what they brought me here for, just to lock up any receiver that I’m going against.
What are your impressions of Jim Schwartz?
So with coach Schwartz, I like what he’s doing. Right now, he’s not really putting guys in a free safety spot, a strong safety spot. We’re just playing left and right, just basically so we can learn every position, pretty much. So I like him because he just lets guys play football and play fast.
Does it look like Schwartz is hands-on?
Oh, yeah, he got a lot of energy, for sure. He got a lot of energy and he wants his guys to be great and make a lot of plays. So he looks out for his players, for sure.
Juan, just seeing how you are on social media and even here, are you a kind of guy, a player who’s like you want to speak something into existence, like you’re going to be overly positive, kind of regardless of circumstances?
Listen, they say if you speak negative, negative things will happen. That’s what I truly believe. So if you sit there and speak positive, those positive things will happen. If you say you’re going to win and you step on that field believing you’re going to win, more than likely you’re going to win. I mean, you’re going to play your hardest to get there. So I’m definitely that type of guy that wants to be positive and bring everyone to the room and just enjoy everything together.
And then just being out there with Grant actually on the field, what’s it been like kind of getting familiar with him and actually playing out there with him?
It’s new, because I’ve been somewhere for four years, having to learn his style of play, how he likes to play. But it’s definitely coming together. We’re starting to figure each other out a little bit more, because I saw that a little bit today, us not having to really speak too much to each other and we just know what each other is going to do. So I’m excited to play with him.
What do you think Za’Darius is going to bring to this team?
The guy’s a beast. Just look at him. He made it to the Pro Bowl. Who’s going to stop him? You got him. You got Garrett up front. You got all the other guys. They’re going to put pressure on the quarterback, so they’re definitely going to bring the heat, which allows us to make more plays.
Were you surprised Andrew Berry kept adding with such a big name in Za’Darius kind of so late in the offseason?
I’m not surprised at all. Because if you talk about the history, the Browns didn’t really win last year, so A.B. is going to bring in as many guys as possible to win. He wants to win. No one wants to lose. So I’m not surprised at all.
What made you sign here when you were a free agent?
So I like to be like the underdog a little bit. Going into the season, not everyone thinking that you’re going to be like the No. 1 team. Kansas City, everybody put them up there No. 1. They think they’re going to win every year. But me coming here, I feel like I can add something to the team and bring something to the team to get us to that top level and I just will feel accomplished if we did that.”
Have communication problems been discussed at all since you got here and trying to make that an emphasis to clean up?
Not really. We don’t really talk about too much about last year. Like I said before, it’s a new season with me. I’m the type of guy, I like to be very vocal. So I’m going to try to get my guys lined up as much as possible and be pretty good at what I do. So, yeah, we don’t talk too much about last year.
What are some adjectives you could use to describe the defense today?
Fast, smart, and very intelligent.
Can you talk about your relationship with Rodney McLeod?
So with Rodney, he’s actually played in this scheme before. He knows a lot more than we do. So he came in Day 1 giving us little nuggets to help us play better. So we both went to the University of Virginia, so we kind of know each other a little bit, and I just feel like we can relate in that standpoint. But Rodney’s a really great guy to add to the room. He’s been here for a while. He’s been in NFL. He knows what to expect. So he’s a great guy to have in your room to help you play better.
What made you get that tattoo?
So if you really look at the tattoo, I actually have the Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs and then what round I was drafting. So what I’m going to do with this arm is actually just track my journey pretty much. So that’s pretty much how I got it.
What made you go with the elf as opposed to the helmet logo?
I mean, that’s what’s in the middle of the football field, so that’s why I pretty much went with the Elf.
Why did Jim Schwartz have on a jersey today?
So we had a guy, 51 [LB Jordan Kunasyck]. I think that’s the number he was wearing today, 51. He in the team meeting today, he basically brought us all in and he let him give his speech and pretty much he just wanted to support him pretty much in his journey here, how hard he works. So that’s pretty much why he wore 51.
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