Browns rookie Derrick Kindred suddenly seems to be a contender to start at free safety.
"I want the spot bad," Kindred, a fourth-round draft pick from TCU, told the Beacon Journal on Tuesday. "It's really what I always wanted to do. Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed about being in the NFL and then getting a starting position on the defense. It's something I want really bad, so I'm going to keep working toward that."
Jordan Poyer has held the job throughout this offseason, but Kindred and Poyer shared playing time with the starting defense during Friday's 30-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third preseason game. Each player received three series opposite strong safety Ibraheim Campbell. Kindred had two tackles, and Poyer had one.
"It shows that the coaches trust me a lot, and it shows a lot of growth in myself," Kindred said. "I've only been here a couple of months learning the defense, and being able to improve my role each and every week has been something I've been looking forward to. I think I did pretty good. I still can improve on a couple things, but overall, I was comfortable with my calls, I was being very vocal and I was making some plays."
Browns coach Hue Jackson was asked Monday if the starting free safety is up for grabs with the Sept. 11 regular-season opener on the horizon.
"I know it may look like that," Jackson said. "I feel very good about all three of those guys [Kindred, Poyer and Campbell]. I donít think it really matters who walks out there first. I know quote-unquote people want to know who the starter is, but I think as much nickel as we see Ė Iím talking about three wide receivers in the National Football League, two tight ends, all that Ė all of those guys can play at any time. What is really important is that we are beginning to feel comfortable with three guys that can go in there and play. We will determine who the starters are here pretty soon."
Kindred believes Thursday night's preseason finale against the visiting Chicago Bears will be crucial as he competes with Poyer.
"It's going to be pretty huge, but I'm not going to let it get to me," Kindred said. "I'm just going to go out there and play my game like I've been doing all my life and these last couple of weeks."
However it shakes out, Campbell has faith Kindred is ready to play.
"Kindredís a really good player. Heís very physical. He plays fast. Heís a playmaker as youíve seen throughout the preseason," Campbell said after Friday's game. "Heís someone who I think is ready to play whenever that time may be. So I feel completely comfortable with him."