In spite of the reports and everything else that suggests how awful the Cleveland Browns are and how terrible the organization is, players continue to come out and say they want to stay. First, T.J. Ward made it clear he wanted to stay and now center Alex Mack has come out and said he would like to remain with the team.
“Being in Cleveland is nice,” Mack told cleveland.com last week. “I have good friends on the team, I like the coaches, it’s a nice place.”
When asked if he hits the open market, would he give the Browns the chance to match any offer he received, he said ”Oh, absolutely.” Mack along with Joe Thomas have been the only consistent parts of the offensive line since 2009, when Mack was selected in the first round. Thomas is lobbying for Mack’s return as well, which should not be taken lightly. Thomas is an institution on this team and his resigning was enormous for the team, so when he talks, it has an impact.
“He’s one of the best centers in the NFL, and if we don’t bring him back, now we have a big hole to fill at center, which is one of the most important positions on the offensive line,” Thomas said. “And (on this) offense, the way we run it, (the centers) have a tremendous amount of responsibilities as far as directing the offense and the pass protection and the run blocking, even sometimes a greater role than the quarterback in the way that the offensive line and the tight ends are blocking everything.”
Browns offensive coordinator weighed in as well:
“I think Alex is an outstanding player and he works awfully hard at it,” said Turner. “He cares a great deal about it. He’s got a demanding job, and particularly, when you play three different quarterbacks and you have a lot of change, and playing the defenses we play, he’s got a lot of responsibility in terms of getting us into the right calls, right protections. So, he’s awfully valuable to this team.”
It remains to be seen how this front office will approach the situations regarding Ward and Mack, but there is pressure both from within the organization and on the outside to get them resigned and kept in the fold for the long term. And as much as some would argue the Browns are making no progress at all, they have players worth keeping, which is something that has only been a recent phenomenon for this team. The Browns have until March 11th to get him under contract before he hits the open market.