Despite the NFL's lockout, it has been an eventful offseason for tight end Evan Moore.
In early January, he had surgery to repair a hernia, which sidelined him for the final three games of the 2010 season, and has been rehabilitating and training ever since. Shortly before the lockout took effect during the second week of March, the Browns extended a second-round restricted free-agent tender to Moore. Oh, yeah, Moore proposed to his girlfriend, too. He's engaged and plans to get married after next season, if there is one.
Moore discussed those recent developments and other topics in a phone interview this evening. Here is an excerpt from the question-and-answer session:
Q: How have you been spending your time during the lockout?
A: "It really has never slowed down 'cause my first focus right when the season was over was to get healthy immediately. I've been able to do that fortunately, and now I'm kind of at the point where I can just train normally. Basically, I've been doing exactly what I'd be doing if we were at the facility as a team working out."
Q: In an interview last month, Browns wide receiver/return man Josh Cribbs said the team's offensive players were planning to meet in mid-April to train together. How important is it for you guys to work out together during the lockout?
A: "As an offense, especially considering we're gonna be running a new offense, we can't look at what's out of our control, and that's the pace that these negotiations go at and the litigation. We have to look at what we can control, and that is, as an offense, trying to come together somehow and some way. And I think (quarterback) Colt (McCoy is) spearheading that a little bit. We need to make that happen soon. We don't have a date yet, but we need to make that happen soon. If we don't go back till training camp, we can come in with a little bit of an idea of what's going on. As much as we can take this time off and continue to enjoy being with our families, we still have a job to do."
Q: While you were rehabilitating from your injury, what was the process like when you could no longer receive treatment from the Browns' medical staff because of the lockout?
A: "By about mid-March, I was on the back end of my rehab. Up until that point, I had been working directly with (the Browns') trainers as well as somebody out in California, and they had been collaborating. Once the lockout rolled around, there wasn't much left to be done. Yes, there's been communication between my trainer out in California and their team doctor, their team trainer and that's what's most important. They've been staying on the same page. It's all been handled fine. There hasn't been an issue where I've been cut off or anything like that and kind of just been hung out to dry. I can only speak for my own situation, but I know the timing of mine was nice. When the lockout started, I was on the tail end of (my rehab), and I was about done."
Q: What was your reaction when the Browns extended a second-round tender to you?
A: "They expressed a desire to have (me) back. The thing about being a restricted free agent is you've still got to earn everything you get. They're not giving you anything up front. You've got to earn it. That's one of the reasons I'm so anxious to get back with the team at the facility and build on some of the positive things we were able to do last year as an offense and start winning some games. Them telling me, 'Hey, we want you to be a part of it going forward,' at least at this point, is encouraging. I'm anxious to fulfill their expectations."
Q: What are your thoughts about Pat Shurmur becoming the Browns' new head coach?
A: I had a chance to sit down with him briefly when I was in Cleveland meeting with our trainers. I'm excited to play for him. I know he brings a system that I'm familiar with. I was able to play in it in college (at Stanford) and my rookie year in Green Bay."
Q: How do you feel about your expected role in the West Coast offense?
A: "A West Coast offense (emphasizes) getting the ball out of the quarterback's hand and utilizing all your different weapons in the passing game, and that's not to discount what we're gonna do in the running game. I mean we have Peyton Hillis. I think it would be stupid to just abandon the running game. But that's the way I see it. I see myself fitting pretty nicely into coach Shurmur's offense, but time will tell. We have a lot of work to do before then. Hopefully we can get started sooner rather than later."
Q: In the past couple of months, Shurmur, President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert have publicly voiced their commitment to McCoy. How can knowing who "the guy" will be heading into training camp help the offense?
A: "I think it does the most for the guy they're talking about. It's important for the team, but it kind of starts with that guy and his confidence level and his ability to be a leader and his ability to establish himself early on. In a normal league year, it would start right now. Once he establishes that, it kind of permeates throughout the rest of the team. Like I said, it starts with the guy they're talking about. Colt already has that natural leadership ability inside of him. When you get all those guys upstairs behind him, I think he feels a little more comfortable stepping forward and taking charge. That's what a team needs. It doesn't really matter how old a guy is. He's in a leadership position by default. When he embraces that because of having these guys behind him, it's really important. I guess I'm talking more about the position in general, not so much Colt. All those guys we have are great players and great guys. But the fact that they're standing behind Colt -- who I feel is a great player, too, and I'm excited to play with him -- I think it's important to understand it starts with him and how he feels about the situation and how comfortable he is with being our leader 'cause that's what we need out of our quarterback."
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