The hype train for the Cleveland Browns has been running strong ever since the team swung a deal for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The hype has infected the fan base, which snapped up tickets to the team’s 15 open training camp practices in a matter of minutes.
It has also ensnared many in the national media, who have crowned the Browns as one of the league’s “it teams” for the 2019 season.
Most importantly, the players have embraced the possibilities that lay in front of them. Tight end David Njoku, who went through the worst of it during an 0-16 season as a rookie in 2017, is the latest example.
Njoku hosted a youth football camp over the weekend at Cedar Grove High School in his hometown in New Jersey and took time to talk with nj.com about Beckham and the expectations surrounding the Browns this season:
“(Odell) is a crazy athlete and a crazy receiver. Once we realized we had him locked in, we’re excited. We have a great team. It’s up to us to take advantage of this opportunity. He’s a great teammate and a great person. We all know what he brings to the table. He makes crazy plays and we’re excited to have him on the team. I actually knew him prior to him getting traded ... same old dude.”
And what about the expectations for a team that is two seasons removed from posting just the second 0-16 season in NFL history?
“Obviously, my first year was a bit of turmoil. Going 0-16 was tough. But I believe we are turning it around. This past year we were 7-8-1, and now we are are looking to make a big impact. We are trying to do what we can to go all the way, which is indeed go to the Super Bowl.”
Talk of a Super Bowl run by the Browns may earn chuckles from some people, but there is nothing wrong with stating that as a team goal. After all, if you are not working toward a title, then what is the point of playing the game?
It’s not just empty talk, either, as Njoku pointed out that several players recently got together to work as the Browns get ready for the start of training camp on July 25:
“We actually were in Los Angeles working on timing and chemistry and ball placement and everything. Odell, Jarvis, Hollywood (Rashard) Higgins, Baker, myself, Pharoah Brown, Seth DeValve, Demetrius Harris. A bunch of guys came out. It was great.”
The hype surrounding the Browns will only continue to grow until the regular season opens on September 8 and it is up to the players and coaching staff to turn that hype into results.
From the sound of it, Njoku is one player who will do what it takes to make that happen.