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Here's what coach Mike Pettine is saying about the Browns today

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 7, 2014

Browns coach Mike Pettine met with reporters Thursday after practice. Below is a transcript from the news conference provided by the team.

On if he offered Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James a contract as he watched practice from the sideline: “No, but I do know I’m going to be Father of the Year. I got my daughter a picture with LeBron. She could care less about a picture with me.”

On how he said that GM Ray Farmer is going to bring in a lot of players but bringing James is a little extreme: “He had reached out. We knew he had been out of town for a while and when he got back he was going to come out to practice. It was something that we had been looking forward to.”

On what he talked about with James: “He just asked how camp was going. You can tell he’s into it – loves football, big Browns fan. He says he’ll be at the games when it’s warm and when it’s cold he’ll be watching them in his basement.”

On if he believes in synergy in a city where both teams start winning at the same time like what happened in Boston: “I do. It’s hard to explain when it happens, but I think it kind of gets fed through the fans with the teams. I don’t know how many of them are connecting with each other, but the city gets revved up and I think you can have momentum from season to season.”

On if he’s ready for the first preseason games: “I think we are. I think the coaches have done a good job towards the end of this week getting the guys ready for what we’re actually going to show. We’ve probably given them a little more to study than they’ll actually run so the ready list and the call sheet are different sizes, but I think we’ve had a good build-up to it. We’re all looking forward to going against somebody else.”

On if he’s given the team any more information regarding play time: “No. We’ve kept it pretty vague with them. This thing can go a lot of different ways, as you know. I didn’t want to give them exact specifics or exact counts. You never know what can happen early on. I told those guys I’d rather them be prepared to play more than they think they’re going to play than give them a number and then put them over it.”

On if QB Johnny Manziel will get reps with the ones: “I don’t think he will. I think we’re going to let (QB) Brian (Hoyer) go. The circumstances could change that obviously. For this game, I think pretty much stick to the units as we’ve practiced so Brian with the ones and Johnny with the twos.”

On if he thinks it might help Manziel to have James in town to help him deal with all the attention he draws since James has been through it before: “Yeah, I’m sure he could. They’ve probably already had discussions. He’s such a big star in the city and knows the city as well as he does and has the fame that he’s earned over the years. I’m sure it could be nothing but a positive for Johnny.”

On if there’s any reason he’s not going to have Manziel play any series with the ones on Saturday: “No. No solid [reason] other than we just didn’t want to mix the units in this game.”

On DB Justin Gilbert is playing on Saturday: “Gilbert is a little bit nicked. I don’t know. I think (VP of Communications) Peter (John-Baptiste) is going to send [the media] a list once we get the final evaluation from (Head Athletic Trainer) John Sheehan of who can go and who can’t.”

On what units he’s most looking forward to seeing other than quarterback: “Running back, the guard spot – I think there’s good competition there. (OL John) Greco, (OL Garrett) Gilkey, I want to see how (OL Joel) Bitonio plays. I’m very interested in that. [I’m looking forward to seeing] the receivers.”

On the linemen’s extra point competition to determine who gets the orange jerseys next practice: “The linemen do a lot of the chirping back and forth over the orange shirt stuff, so I wanted to find a way for them to settle it. There were some very unique styles of kicking. I think ‘Des’ (DL Desmond Bryant) set a record for hang-time on an extra point.”

On if it makes him hope nothing happens K Billy Cundiff: “Yeah. I don’t think we’re going to find a replacement in that group.”

On how he picked the guys who kicked the extra points: “We just said from the O line room and the D line room – they just nominated three guys on their own and sent them up World Cup style.”

On how he thinks these challenge periods have brought players together: “I think it helps. You’ve got to mix it in. We obviously don’t do something like that every day. It’ll maybe be a once a week thing where it’s kind of an  ‘off the beaten path’ competition. I think the guys look forward to it. Having the jerseys means something to them and there’s a little bit of back and forth between the units. It’s been a positive.”

On if he knew the perks of meeting guys like former Browns RB Jim Brown and LeBron James came with this job: “I did not. When I got hired somebody very quickly brought up to me that I might have both of those opportunities. That’s two things off the bucket list.” 

On if he heard a buzz among the players when James walked up: “I think so and he’s taller in person. You get used to the NBA games where it’s relative. You don’t get a feel for the height unless you actually see them among civilians and you realize how tall they are.”

On if he can envision James as a red-zone target if he had chosen to play football: “Yeah. He’d be a heck of a target. Let’s just flex him out a little bit and just throw one up for him. That would be very enticing.”

On if quarterbacks Tyler Thigpen and Connor Shaw will play in Saturday’s preseason game: “I’m not sure how (quarterbacks coach) Dowell (Loggains) has the rotation. The coaches are all handing them into me today. They’re all planning for the game. I’m not sure how he’s going to work Tyler and Connor.”

On if there was any discussion with James about if he was going to run any plays: “No, we didn’t get to that point. His kids were running around. He had his hands full there.”

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