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Browns add a fighter in defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence

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Second-year player has overcome long odds, brings a much-needed attitude to the defense.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It was lost a bit in the initial roster cutdown on Saturday, but the Cleveland Browns made an interesting move to bolster the defensive line.

The club moved a seventh-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence, who has taken quite an interesting journey to the NFL.

Lawrence, an undrafted free agent out of Auburn, spent his rookie season in 2017 rehabbing from a torn ACL that required a pair of surgeries. He finally got on the field in the first preseason game of the year, notching a pair of sacks, three quarterback hits, a tackle for loss and five tackles against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lawrence is a 6-foot-2 and 294-pound player who is not going to back down, as he told neworleanssaints.com earlier this summer:

“I come out here with an attitude. I’m not gonna just let you bully me or push me around. I’m going to fight you – in between plays, after plays, it doesn’t matter. We’re gonna get it in. I feel like as long as you’ve got the right mindset, then you are ready for this league.”

That attitude is no surprise given Lawrence’s background.

His biological mother gave up her parental rights when Lawrence was a child, he was a drug user and seller as a teenager and spent time in jail before he was 18, and suffered a knee injury in college that could have derailed him once again.

But Lawrence fought through it all, as he explained to Luke Johnson of nola.com:

“You’re a fool if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you know what I mean? My thing on my journey has always been to wise up. I don’t have regrets about the bad things I’ve done. ... You just learn from them. I had to lay in that bed. But over the years, I learned to be a little smarter, a little wiser, I grew up a little bit and I started to make my bed a little softer.”

The release of defensive tackle Caleb Brantley on Saturday opens up a spot for Lawrence, which, given his background, he won’t give up without a fight.