Cleveland Browns wide receiver Carlton Mitchell was interviewed by ESPN Tampa Bay a couple of days ago, where he answered a couple of questions related to the lockout and how he is preparing during the down time. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal had the transcript available for some of Mitchell's responses.
Mitchell emphasizes that he is taking this training time very seriously and hopes that he is not "left behind" as a result of the lockout situation (i.e. he might not have enough time to impress the new coaching staff). Fortunately for him, he was drafted under Tom Heckert last season, so he would probably benefit from a new, offensive-oriented head coach giving him another look:
"But the main thing I've just been focusing on is still trying to continue to train and keep my body ready because I don't want to get left behind when things do pick back up. As soon as the lockout's over, we'll report right away, and I just want to hit the ground just running in stride rather than just start over and have to play the catch up game. I know a lot of guys right now are sitting down and not really training as hard or doing what they're supposed to be doing."
Mitchell also discussed the disadvantage to the team in general being involved in the lockout and what the offensive minicamps are trying to accomplish:
On if the Browns are at a disadvantage because the lockout is preventing them from installing their new systems: "That's 100 percent correct. We have a whole new coaching staff, a whole new offense. You know it's West Coast, and it's completely different than what we did last year. We need the OTAs, we need this little camp, we need our guys to all be together and just work on things to create that chemistry 'cause everything is so new to us, which is why we've been trying to set these workouts up and get together as much as we could. It's not a good thing right now. That's why we're trying to stay active with all these things and continue to communicate whether it's talk on the phone or through e-mails, just try to always stay in our playbooks and just always try to get better each time. … I mean it's pretty serious right now."
If the Browns don't pursue any free agent wide receivers, Mitchell might still be in good shape to make the roster. He was on the team last year, and so far, the only change that has been made at the receiver position is Greg Little being added and Chansi Stuckey being subtracted (he is a free agent).