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Cleveland Browns

Mr. Third Down

By Marla Ridenour Published: November 2, 2007

Browns 10-year veteran receiver Joe Jurevicius doesn't seem to care if he's angering opponents. Making big catches on third down is his trademark and he usually responds by emphatically signalling first down after he gets up.

He said he's been making the signal, ''Probably since I started playing football. Sometimes it gets the crowd going and sometimes it gets the offense going. There's a time and a place to use it and if I feel it's applicable, I'm going to use it.''

As for the opponents' reaction, he said, ''We get the same thing right back to us, so whatever. Third down is a big part of the game. We've got a lot of people making plays on third down.''

Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski chuckled when it was suggested that the gesture seems a bit out of character for Jurevicius, always a team player.

''I kind of like it, too,'' Chudzinski said. ''It's a good thing for us when it happens.''

This week Jurevicius is tied for third in the NFL in third-down catches with 15 (for 189 yards and all three of his TDs). In that category, he trails Baltimore's Derrick Mason (20) and San Diego tight end Antonio Gates (18) and is tied with Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Jurevicius has 20 catches on the season.¶

But it doesn't seem surprising that one thing Jurevicius relishes when he moves the chains is more opportunities for receiver Braylon Edwards, tight end Kellen Winslow and running back Jamal Lewis.

''I'm going to try and continue to be successful on third down because that gives us three extra downs to get the ball in Braylon's, Kellen's and Jamal's hands,'' he said.

Chudzinski, in his first year calling the Browns' plays, knows he can count on Jurevicius.

''Joe's been a tremendous guy in the locker room, a tremendous leader,'' Chudzinski said. ''He really set the tempo in a lot of things we do. You know what you're going to get every single day.''


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