Browns wide receiver Carlton Mitchell discussed the NFL's lockout today in a radio interview with the "Prime Time" show on ESPN Tampa Bay (1040-AM). Mitchell, a second-year professional out of the University of South Florida, said he has been training and participating in players-only workouts, which have been organized by quarterback Colt McCoy, because he doesn't want to be "left behind" when the lockout ends. Mitchell also said the lockout has put the Browns at a disadvantage because they have a new coaching staff and are converting to new systems, the West Coast offense and the 4-3 defense. Here are some of the highlights from the interview with Mitchell:
- On the lockout's impact: "It's affecting everyone. Everyone is being hurt by this. What I've done, I've been preparing myself all year. I've been budgeting a lot 'cause I mean you don't know how long this thing can last. It could go on till October or two games into the season or the whole the year. But the main thing I've just been focusing on is still trying to continue to train and keep my body ready because I don't want to get left behind when things do pick back up. As soon as the lockout's over, we'll report right away, and I just want to hit the ground just running in stride rather than just start over and have to play the catch up game. I know a lot of guys right now are sitting down and not really training as hard or doing what they're supposed to be doing. But you know we're professionals. ... (I'm) just trying to prepare my mind, not just my football stuff, but just my mind as well. (I) just always try to learn, just better myself. But this lockout thing is crazy."
- On if the lockout has made it difficult for him to focus on improving as a wide receiver: "At first, but actually when you sit down and think about it, there's nothing really I can do. I just ... pray for the best, and just continue to do what I can do, continue to just meet with my teammates and continue to have these workouts. And then when the lockout is over, I mean the team that is best prepared right now is the team that's gonna do the best later on."
- On how long his Browns teammates think the lockout will last: "I can't tell you exactly, but I mean it's not looking good."
- On if the Browns are at a disadvantage because the lockout is preventing them from installing their new systems: "That's 100 percent correct. We have a whole new coaching staff, a whole new offense. You know it's West Coast, and it's completely different than what we did last year. We need the OTAs, we need this little camp, we need our guys to all be together and just work on things to create that chemistry 'cause everything is so new to us, which is why we've been trying to set these workouts up and get together as much as we could. It's not a good thing right now. That's why we're trying to stay active with all these things and continue to communicate whether it's talk on the phone or through e-mails, just try to always stay in our playbooks and just always try to get better each time. ... I mean it's pretty serious right now."
- On if he's had a chance to talk to new Browns coach Pat Shurmur and get a feel for what Shurmur expects from him: "I'm not really sure what my role is this year. ... The best player is gonna play. It's a business. You have to go in and just do what's expected. If not, then they'll find a replacement."