The Browns recently acquired wide receiver Davone Bess in a trade with the Miami Dolphins and signed him to a three-year contract extension that secures him through the 2016 season.
Bess addressed reporters this afternoon for the first time since the trade unfolded. Below is a transcript from the conference call.
What was your reaction when you learned you had been traded?: “My initial reaction was it was bittersweet. Obviously, being down here in Miami since my rookie year, having developed a relationship with the organization, the fans and kind of embracing my opportunity was something special here. But all good things, they say, must come to an end. To jump ship to Cleveland was a great opportunity, a great stepping-stone for myself in my career. So personally it was a great move for me. I’m thankful for the future and I’m looking forward to being a Brown.”
Describe yourself as a receiver: “A get-it-done type of guy whether it’s inside or outside. Whatever the coaches want my role to be, I’m going to give 110 percent and maximize it to the best of my ability.”
What do you think your role will be with the Browns?: “Obviously they have a bunch of young guys there who had pretty good seasons last year. [They’re] young, hungry, intelligent, athletically, physically, mentally. To come in and just share my knowledge and be able to help out a group not only from a physical, playmaking standpoint, but just more mental and just understanding the game of football from an Xs and Os standpoint. From what I heard, the guys are great, and I’m looking forward to meeting them all and jelling this team together.”
How much of a mentor role did you play in Miami?: “Looking back and being undrafted and kind of just being thrown in the fire my rookie year and then having an opportunity to play, I’m just very, very thankful and appreciative. We all know hard and how frustrating this league can be. We know that without opportunity, who knows where I’d be or whoever else would be, and opportunity is a big part of this league. So I’m very thankful for the Miami Dolphins for giving me that shot. From that standpoint, it was just a matter of never looking back and just understanding and knowing that I can play and be productive in this league.”
Why did Miami let you go?: “I don’t know. I don’t know. But what I can say is coach [Joe] Philbin and the Miami Dolphins, they are great guys. I enjoyed every bit of them last year and up until this point. But I didn’t come in with that regime. Obviously every coach, every organization, whenever they bring in a new coach, everybody’s got their own guys. I understood that when I signed up to join the business, and that’s just the way this league is built. So you can’t have any hard feelings. You’ve got to take it for what it is and just give it your all and just try to not look back.”
You sat out the last three games of the 2012 season with a back injury and the coaches were reportedly angry about that. Was that a factor in the trade?: “To be honest, I have no idea. I kind of left that in last season. It was a touchy situation, but we let bygones be bygones. We squashed it, you know? We moved forward and that's the end of that.”
Do you know much about the Browns?: “Not much, but I know somewhat of the tradition it holds. Obviously Jim Brown's in there who's a Hall of Famer, legendary icon in the city, and I've always been a fan of football, so I know a bunch of players on each team in the league that I follow. Also, I'm really looking forward to joining this group of receivers. I've been watching this group of receivers and they're young, talented, and I'm just looking forward to being part of the mix.”
You’re known for your production on third down. What makes you effective in those situations?: “I take extreme pride in being productive in converting on third down. I think a big part of it was obviously the opportunity that the coaches put me in, and giving me the ability to put me in certain situations and being able to find a mismatch and letting me do what I do. But from that standpoint, just studying, watching my opponents and kind of having that chip on my shoulder and watching that bull's eye when third down comes or fourth down or whatever the case may be, watching that bull's eye and wanting to get it done. It's a mixture of all of those and obviously having the players around me, whether they stretch the field or whether they're getting double-teamed or whatever the case may be, it's bigger picture, so I just try to play my role, fulfill my role to the best of my abilities.”
Do you hope to produce in Cleveland at a similar level to last season?: “I hope to bring more than that to Cleveland. Sixty-one catches, I was thankful for it, but there was so much more I left out on the field. That's the great thing about growing and getting better every year, just understanding where you made your mistakes at, and just growing into being a better player each and every year. I'm looking forward to however many balls they want to throw my way, but obviously raising that number a lot more.”
Are you looking forward to the regular-season opener against the Dolphins?: “I’m thankful to be in the National Football League, whether we open against Miami, Pittsburgh Steelers or the Minnesota Vikings. Whoever the team is I’m looking forward to it. My approach is going to be the same no matter who it is. So it’s just ironic that it happens to be the Miami Dolphins, and I love those guys. I’m really good friends with a whole bunch of the guys, with the whole defense pretty much. They know what I bring to the table. I know what they bring to the table. It’s going to be a good one.”
Do you know anything about Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and have you talked to him yet?: “I haven’t talked to Brandon. I followed him last year with the whole draft process and when he was at Oklahoma State throwing a bunch of balls to Dez Bryant. I’m a football fan. I’ve watched him. Obviously I know Jason Campbell from him being around for quite some time. I’m just looking forward to getting up there and meeting him and developing this chemistry and getting things started.”
You were arrested as a young man and lost your scholarship to Oregon State as a result. How did that shape you and lead to you establishing the Bess Route Foundation?: “First and foremost, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember those times. Being undrafted and having to prove myself numerous amounts of times. Those heartaches, those tough times, those experiences in my cell molded me into the man I am today. At the time, being a young adolescent, I didn’t understand it, but being older now, I’m so thankful of those moments, you know. My whole thing was going back, not only into the inner city, but abroad or wherever and teaching, not only kids, but whoever, everybody, that there is a best route. That was the motto for my foundation. [It] is choosing the best route in life, and that route is the positive way. We’re all going to have tough times. We’re all going to have experiences. We’re all going to have obstacles we got to overcome, but one thing we can always change is our mind and our attitude, and that’s kind of been my motto, and I’m just keeping it that way. And it’s been the driving and the key to my success.”