Who Is the New Face of the Cleveland Browns?
Who is the new face of the Cleveland Browns?
To start this season it was former third-overall draft pick Trent Richardson that was in commercials, on game programs and posters, etc.
That all changed on September 18 when the running back was dealt to Indianapolis for their first-round selection in 2014. It was a trade that rocked the NFL and was supposed to signal Cleveland's symbolic throwing in of the towel.
Being a Cleveland Browns fan is like watching Jurassic Park every week and cheering for the goat. (via @robfee)— Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) September 22, 2013
Thankfully for Browns fans that didn't happen. The team is riding an improbable two-game winning streak into this Thursday's nationally televised matchup versus the Buffalo Bills.
Replacing the injured Brandon Weeden in Week 3, hometown hero Brian Hoyer has firmly taken the reins of the quarterback position with a 2-0 record as a starter.
Should that automatically crown Hoyer as the prominent face of the franchise?
It's a fun story; however, the Browns have had 19 different starting quarterbacks since their return in 1999 so it might be premature to hail a third stringer as the savior.
Who should be the new face of the Cleveland Browns?
No, there is someone more deserving. It's a player on a meteoric rise at a position growing in prominence and importance around the league.
The man that will be the face of the Browns for this year and many seasons to come is tight end Jordan Cameron.
Cameron combines the on- and off-field respectability and class coveted by a front office.
Let's begin off the gridiron.
Unlike popular receiver Josh Gordon, Cameron has no reported personal issues, suspensions or reckless behavior.
That is a huge relief for an organization when heavily marketing an athlete and looking for a community role model. The person becomes someone safe to build upon.
Now onto the exciting football reasons.
The Los Angeles, Calif. native is finally delivering on the potential that comes with an incredibly athletic 6'5", 245-pound body.
As a converted college basketball player, Cameron's first pair of NFL seasons saw him quietly learning the ropes behind veteran tight end Ben Watson. Various injuries plagued him throughout 2011 and 2012, but all the while he soaked in the actions of Watson.
Flashes of brilliance teased everyone, and the question remained the same: Can this 2011 fourth-round draft choice stay healthy enough to allow those God-given gifts to be realized on a consistent basis?
The new administration took a calculated risk on No. 84 by not going after one of several high-profile tight end free agents and allowing Watson to walk away once his contract expired.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski commented during minicamp that "the best ability is availability" when it came to Cameron learning the new system and battling minor ailments.
The USC alum took the message to heart and trained vigorously leading up to training camp in order to shake that "injury prone" stigma.
"(Tony) kind of gave me some pointers on how to stay healthy, [develop the right] mindset and just the little things that really make the biggest difference,” Cameron said. “There’s a routine he does every single day, and he sticks to it no matter what. … It’s stretching, eating right, taking care of your body, working out, doing everything to stay out of the training room."
"He does the details on the routes that really get him open, really separates him from the defenders. A lot of young guys rely on athleticism and they think they can get open doing whatever ’cause they’re athletes."
The 25-year-old has demonstrated Gonzalez's advice through the exhibition schedule and this season's initial four games.
That new focus and philosophy to being a professional at all levels has catapulted Cameron to new heights.
He is Cleveland's leader in receptions, receiving yards, first downs and touchdowns and consistently completes spectacular catches.
.@Browns TE Jordan Cameron's 5 receiving TDs are tied for the most by a TE in Sept. in NFL history - last to do so was R. Gronkowski in 2011— Dan Murphy (@DMurph_BrownsPR) September 30, 2013
Cameron is clearly the most valuable weapon in Norv Turner's offense and no other Brown tops as many statistical categories as he does.
A good public image plus remarkable performances equals one new face of the franchise.
Andy McNamara is an international sports broadcaster and journalist
Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyMc81
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