Select Browns Players (12.28.23)

G Joel Bitonio


What does it mean to clinch the playoff berth?

“The guys fought all year. To get to 11 wins and clinch a playoff berth is special. It’s only my second time in 10 years, so we’re taking every opportunity we can get.”

How was it to do it in front of a packed house tonight?

“It was awesome. Last time it was COVID, so we had 10,000 of the loudest fans, but this was packed. It was great – they’ve been great all year. They were great tonight and honestly, walking off the field seeing everybody so excited, it makes it a lot more special.”


Anything stand out as the final seconds ticked down?

“For me, it’s almost a whole career goes – you remember the 0-16, 1-15, 3-13 years where there was no hope at the time. You look back on it, it’s like ‘Hey, we’re turning this team into a winning culture and we are expected to compete and go to the playoffs every year.’ It’s cool to be a part of that.”


After 2020, when you had COVID and had to miss that Pittsburgh game, how badly did you want to get back to the playoffs?

“It was disappointing. The guys stepped up, and then I got to play in the playoffs after that. We didn’t win that one in Kansas City, but you want a chance at it every year. It was definitely disappointing, a little bittersweet last time, so hopefully we can keep this one sweet.”


RB Jerome Ford


How much does this win mean to you as you guys have now clinched a playoff berth?

“It means everything. Like we said all season, we have been doing it for our brothers.”

What was the energy like when you guys saw RB Nick Chubb smashing the guitar?

“We knew it was time to go.”


What was going through your mind when you caught the two touchdowns?

“You know we are at that point in the season. We call it a kick. Everytime we are on the field we just feel like the game is not over. We still have more to prove, put points up on the board, and finish the game.”


What does it mean to execute out there in that way?

“It shows us the kind of bond we have as brothers and the coaches too. It shows what has been instilled. I feel like resiliency is one of those things. We always have each other’s backs.”


RB Kareem Hunt


Kareem does this feel any different than when you guys made the playoffs in 2020?

“I don’t think it feels any different, but I feel like we should have made the playoffs the last two years too, so I’m just excited that we get a chance to go back.”

What’s Nick (Chubb) been like?

“He’s been great, in good spirits, happy we’re winning. He’s definitely supporting us and in our corner too. ”


How loud were those fans for you guys tonight?

“They were amazing. They’re definitely our 12th man. They showed up and showed out, it was packed in there. ”


You being from here and being able to clinch here, what was that like for you?

“It was great. It was sweet going to the playoffs the first time but now we’re trying to not just make it to the playoffs, we’re trying to go the whole way. ”


I feel like this offense has just been unlocked by Flacco’s play at this point – the down field passing game is clicking – you guys find a way no matter what?

“Yeah, right, and that’s the key word – we find a way no matter what. Flacco’s been doing a heck of a job leading us, being that coach leader out there on the field for us, making every pass on the field. He’s calm, cool, and collected, That’s a great quarterback.”


CB Greg Newsome II


What does OL Ethan Pocic do for this team?

“He gives us confidence. He’s done this at the highest level, he’s won Super Bowls, he has led teams. When he came into the building I said this is going to be a great veteran guy who knows what it takes to go there. He has been doing a phenomenal job this season.”


TE David Njoku Said you guys clinched for the city, how big was the 12th man tonight?

“It was huge, white out and they came out. They supported us and they were loud the whole entire game. It was just so good to do it for them. Obviously doing it for each other, we do it for the guys that aren’t able to be out here with us, but more importantly we do it for them, so it was huge.”


Is there still another level to this team that has not been unlocked yet?

“For sure, we are still getting our foot in. QB Joe Flacco has been amazing, but like he just got here. He is still getting used to the culture. We are still building the culture each day. It is never a finished product. We are still trying to fix some things. We definitely have another level we can get to.”


TE David Njoku


What did it mean to clinch the playoff berth in front of these fans?

“The world, man. The world. There was so much adversity this year. Obviously, you guys know.  So many things internally, externally but we overcame them. I’m so proud of these guys. We aren’t finished and we have a long way to go, but for now we are going to enjoy this and worry about next week, next week.”

You have now won four in a row, how dangerous can this team be in the AFC Playoffs?

“Dangerous as hell. Short and sweet.”


After Deshaun Watson went down, did you think this was possible?

“Anything is possible. It’s just the will to not give up, the will to keep pushing through everything. Obviously, when Deshaun went down, it hurt alot.  When Nick (Chubb) went down, it hurt alot. So many injuries this year that we have went through, but we didn’t quit. We rally together and push through. That is why I’m so proud of this team. But — we aren’t done yet.”


How big where the fans tonight?

“Huge. Sold out crowd, all white. It doesn’t get better than that.”


What did it mean for Nick Chubb to be out there?

“Oh my God, I know the crowd went crazy. I went crazy. Thank God I wasn’t mic’d up this game, because I was saying a lot of crazy stuff today. That’s my guy. We are really close and were pushing each other so much this past offseason and it hurt when he got hurt. At the end of the day, it’s the next man mentality.”


G Wyatt Teller


There’s so much belief in this locker room, where does all that come from?

“We know we’re a good team. We all had like not come to Jesus moments in the beginning of the season but just kind of like telling your history, what your hopes are, all this different stuff, your heartbreaks, all these different things that we were trying to communicate to each other, come together as a team and almost everybody’s hope was to win the Super Bowl. Coach kind of started with if we win the division then we get to go to the playoffs, then we get a chance, then we’ll get to make our own destiny. So that’s a positive, we’re starting to do it, still a lot to go. It’s one game, it’s cool, it’s one game.”

It seems like in this locker room it’s almost subdued, it’s not overly celebratory, is that almost a good thing?

“It’s a good thing, yeah. You wouldn’t want to act like you are winning the Super Bowl. Jets are a really good team, we clinched the playoffs but at the end of the day it was one game, it’s not the Super Bowl as much as I wish we just won the Super Bowl, it is not the Super Bowl but it was a real cool game and I’m happy we got to win. ”


There’s a lot of guys in this locker room who were on that playoff team not too long ago, how can you pull from that experience?

“At the end of the day we have a different team–very similar offense. We have a great defense, we had a good defense, now we have a great defense. To be able to win like that, kind of played complementary football. There were times that we were a little shaky but this is the NFL and they are paid too, but having that memory, you want to go chase it again. ”


CB Denzel Ward


How much did this game show how good you are this season?

“We take a lot of pride in that. We have been saying we want to be the number one defense. I think we have been showing that. When we have the opportunities to go out there and get the ball back to our offense we are executing.”

How have you guys been able to do this with all the injuries?

“Next man up mentality. We have the guys in this room that can go out there make the plays regardless of who is out there. That is a huge testament to AB (Andrew Berry) and those guys for putting the right guys on the field.”


When Deshaun Watson went out did you guys think this was possible?

“Definitely. I just look at the guys in this room. Just the camaraderie and the energy that has been going. Guys have been able to step up when other guys have went down”



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