Anthony Walker knew what he was looking for when he entered free agency last week after spending the past four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
A chance to win a Super Bowl after only making the playoffs twice with the Colts, and only having one playoff win to show for it, was at the top of Walker’s list.
And in the latest example that times are truly changing, Walker found that in the Cleveland Browns, agreeing to a one-year contract for $3.5 million the day after meeting with the coaching staff.
Walker explained his decision on Monday during his introductory news conference, according to the transcript provided by the Browns:
“At the end of the day, we play this game to win the biggest trophy in it and that is winning the Super Bowl. That is my No. 1 goal. It will always be my No. 1 goal, whatever team I play for, it is to win a Super Bowl. Honestly, when you have that mindset, everything else comes after. You play good defense, everybody is going to get the accolades and all of that stuff. It is just what happens. My No. 1 goal is to help this team win a Super Bowl and the next part of that would be to help us become the No. 1 defense in the NFL and whatever that takes. Whatever happens after that, it is all gravy. At the end of the day, I want to win and that is why Cleveland is the place I chose.”
There were other factors in play as well, as Walker noted his familiarity with defensive coordinator Joe Woods’s system, which is similar to the one employed in Indianapolis by defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, the opportunity to play on the same side of the ball as defensive end Myles Garrett and cornerback Denzel Ward, and no longer having to deal with quarterback Baker Mayfield and Cleveland’s offense as an opposing player.
It went unsaid, naturally, but the fact that the Browns are not exactly flush at the linebacker position is something that likely appealed to Walker, who started 46 out of a possible 48 games the past three seasons with the Colts.
Add all those elements together and the opportunity to be a part of what the Browns are building was too good to pass on, Walker said:
“You talk about a team that is a fourth-and-one away from beating the Kansas City Chiefs and going on to the next round. A team that you could say is a couple pieces away or maybe a play or two away from being in talks of playing in the Super Bowl last year. You join a team like that with the culture they are building, the team, the comradery, all of that stuff. Again, I am a small part of joining a great organization and an organization that is turning in the right direction. I am proud to be a part of it.”
It has been clear for the past year that things are finally changing for the better with the Browns.
Walker’s decision to sign with the team so that he can chase a Super Bowl title is just the latest example to confirm that.