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Highlights from Hue Jackson’s press conference at the NFL Combine

The Browns head coach talks rookie quarterbacks, adding a veteran, Joe Thomas’ future, the status of Josh Gordon, and more.

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson was among the head coaches to speak Wednesday morning at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Here are some highlights of what he discussed, looking scruffier than he’s ever looked.

Regime Change & Collaborative Decision-Making

  • Tony Grossi asked Jackson to compare regimes (Sashi Brown vs. John Dorsey) in going through this process. Jackson declined to compare, and followed up answering a question about the quarterbacks — it’ll be a collaborative process between everyone, including new offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese.

Rookie Quarterback Prospects

  • There are always outliers at quarterback who are below 6-2 and can play really well. Baker Mayfield could be that, in reference in not discounting him immediately because of his size.
  • There are often things that get written despite players not saying them, so he’s not concerned about Josh Rosen’s previously reported desire to not play for Cleveland. Jackson said we’ll interview the players and find out all they need to know.
  • On Sam Darnold, they wish he would throw this weekend at the NFL Combine, but it won’t hinder them making a decision on him because they’ll still get to see him throw at a later date.

Adding a Veteran QB

  • When asked about the Browns adding a veteran quarterback, he said “that’s kind of the way you want your [QB] room set up,” which is an odd response given the fact that the team let Josh McCown go last year and did not carry a veteran all season.

“You want a guy who’s been a veteran player that’s played in the National Football League that’s had a chance to win,” said Jackson. “You’d love to have a young player that you’re developing, maybe two of those kind of players in your room, and, again, normally the veteran is somebody that those players can learn from, to learn the National Football League, so they can understand what the rigors are. When they’re ready to play, the veteran kind of moves on. That’s what you hope to have. I just think that’s a really good room. Sometimes you can’t get that. Sometimes you don’t have that, so you have to make due with what you have.”

Josh Gordon Doing Well, Contract Situation

  • Good news regarding Josh Gordon: if there was any doubt, the team still plans on him being any part of the team. Jackson said Gordon is having a great offseason, is doing the right things, and “is going to have a great year for us.”
  • Jackson confirmed they will tender Gordon as an ERFA and would like to have him with the club for a very long time, but also said they haven’t discussed as a team how they want to approach a potential contract extension down the road.

Joe Thomas’ Decision Expected Fairly Soon

  • He’s talked to Joe Thomas several times about his future, and Jackson believes he’ll make his official decision fairly soon. He’s earned the respect to take the time to make his own decision.

Other Nuggets

  • On defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jackson said that there is no question that he can play either cornerback or safety.
  • To close out the conference, which ran about 20 minutes, Jackson was asked for an update on jumping in the lake. He said he’s still going in, and that he’s “going to plan that pretty soon.” It’ll still be connected to the Hue Jackson Foundation, and he added that “hopefully, I can get the whole organization to jump in with me — it’s going to be a cleansing of the Cleveland Browns.”
  • Declined to comment on A.J. McCarron. They are currently working through which QB to pursue in free agency, which begins March 14.