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David Njoku: “It’s instinct to jump”

Rookie tight end David Njoku spoke with Nathan Zegura on the Cleveland Browns Daily podcast Tuesday and said he’s trying to reign in his acrobatics just a bit.

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-West Virginia vs Miami
David Njoku leaps into the end zone for a touchdown against West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 28, 2016.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

David Njoku joined the Cleveland Browns Daily Podcast on Tuesday, June 6th to discuss how he’s settling into the Browns’ offense and the city of Cleveland. When asked about whether he’d been asked to tone down his penchant for leaping catches in order to stay healthy during the offseason program, Njoku had this to say:

I’m trying to not leap over and not fall on my body too much. The other day, and today actually, I dove and landed on my stomach and got the wind knocked out of me. You know, I’m trying to stay healthy, trying to stay on my feet. It’s instinct just to jump for a ball ... once I catch it then you know...”

While the below Njoku leaping grab is from June 3rd, I get the feeling this is a somewhat regular occurrence.

Njoku actually won the national championship for high jump in high school (7’1”) and continued to compete while at the University of Miami alongside playing football. If you’ve seen any game tape of Njoku at Miami you will have noticed the leaping ability does indeed translate to the field:

When asked about the legacy of great tight ends coming out of the Hurricanes program, Njoku indicated he’d spoken to nearly all of them, specifically highlighting Kellen Winslow Jr., Bubba Franks, and Jeremy Shockey. According to Njoku, “the most important thing they all [said] is just to keep working. Even if you think [your position] is locked down, you have got to keep working to be the best.”

When asked about his personal goals, Njoku gave a fairly common answer among NFL players: “my goal ever since I was a little kid was to go to the Super Bowl.” Let’s hope he gets that opportunity with the Browns.

Here are some other quick hits from the interview:

  • Excited about playing alongside Seth DeValve, who he described as “a great athlete, with tremendous speed and great hands” and Randall Telfer, who is also “a great athlete ... stronger, more of a blocker.” He felt welcome from day one in the tight end room.
  • Was surprised that Gary Barnidge was cut but “texted him to wish him the best.”
  • Has not had a chance to experience nightlife in Cleveland as “there’s not a lot of downtime for rookies” during the offseason program which he describes as requiring him to be in the building from “6:30 AM until 6 or 7 PM and that’s without extra treatment.”