Browns head coach Pat Shurmur met with some of the media last night after making an appearance at the Cleveland Auto Show. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com has a full rundown of the interview here.
The most notable thing that I think is worth pointing out first is a response that appears might contradict the earlier ESPN report from Adam Schefter about Hillis and the CIA. When asked about whether or not Peyton Hillis ever talked to coaches about contemplating retirement or pursuing a career with the CIA, Shurmur had this to say:
"Well, I can only go on what I know, and Peyton and I spoke frequently throughout the year and we never discussed any of those topics for sure. Beyond that, I really can’t comment. It’s somebody saying something, but as far as he and I, we never discussed his retirement."
When asked about whether or not the Browns wanted to re-sign Hillis, Shurmur didn't explicitly answer yes or no but did mention that Hillis "played good football" for the Browns when he was in there. Though it still seems unlikely, Shurmur also didn't completely rule out applying the franchise tag to Hillis:
"We’ve still got a couple days before we’ve gotta make that call. We’ve had discussions about what we’re gonna do, but we haven’t finally decided."
Shurmur was also asked a lot of questions about the NFL Draft. He spoke highly of Robert Griffin III and his intelligence based on the 15-minute meeting they had with him during the combine. When asked if the Browns had preliminary talks with the St. Louis Rams about trading up to the No. 2 pick, Shurmur didn't want to confirm or deny the reports, saying "all teams talk at this point." When asked about the philosophy of trading several picks to move up, Shurmur again didn't rule anything out:
"We’re gonna do everything we can do to make the roster as good as we can make it, and we have a situation, in my opinion, where we have some flexibility. We have a lot of picks, and a lot of the experts think that they might be valuable, so we’ll see. So we have some flexibility, and I think we need to approach this thing from a position of strength and do what we can to make our roster better, so that’s how we’ll approach it."
One other interesting thing to take away from this interview with Shurmur that has gotten a lot of people talking is the way that he spoke highly of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill:
"I was equally impressed with Ryan. Very intelligent young man. Did a nice job in the interview. It's important in the interview that they're able to talk about what they did when we watch their film and I thought he did a very nice job of that. He too really was very productive this year and really doing it after being a receiver. He played receiver for 30 games and quarterback for 21. That's not always easy to do."
I even heard one rumored possibility on WKNR that the Browns very well may be considering Tannehill at No. 4 if they don't pursue Griffin. Personally, I don't put that much stock into this one quote. It could be that Shurmur was simply very impressed by Tannehill's move from wide receiver to quarterback and when asked about him, wanted to express that. I think if the Browns are to pursue Tannehill, it won't come at the No. 4 pick. Shurmur has consistently stressed the flexibility that the Browns have in this year's draft. They have a lot of options.