BEREA: Damarious Randall has learned the hard way to never underestimate Cleveland sports fans.

When Randall recently wrote on Twitter, “If the Cleveland Cavaliers win the 2018 NBA finals I’ll buy everyone who retweet’s this a jersey,” he had no clue the tweet would become a record-breaker.

“I mean, I definitely didn’t think it would go as viral as it did,” Randall, the free safety the Browns acquired in March via a trade with the Green Bay Packers, said Wednesday after the fifth practice of organized team activities. “I mean, I definitely didn’t think the Cleveland fan base would go this crazy about it. Obviously, it was a joke, but just to know how passionate this fan base is, I mean, it’s just really encouraging.”

Randall sent the tweet at 11:58 p.m. Monday, and by the time he spoke to reporters about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, it had been retweeted more than 761,000 times. So Randall had already become the athlete with the most retweeted tweet ever, surpassing one by LeBron James that was retweeted more than 655,000 times last year, according to an unofficial list compiled on Wikipedia. Should Randall eclipse 1 million retweets, he would crack the top nine on the list of the most retweeted tweets.

“Do I get a trophy?” Randall quipped.

Surprising response

Randall, who has more than 133,000 Twitter followers, admitted he thought the tweet would receive a maximum of 100 retweets. Shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday, he had more than 804,000 retweets.

“I didn’t think people were going to actually view that as a serious tweet from me,” he said. “But obviously it got the whole world excited about it, and I mean now I’m actually excited about it.

“That just kind of goes to show that this Cleveland fan base is great. I’m actually excited about it ’cause just to know that the fan base is like this, I just really can’t imagine how it’s going to be once the Browns start winning a lot of games here.”

On the other hand, Randall has angered a large faction of that fan base by openly rooting for the Golden State Warriors to defeat the Cavs in their best-of-seven series that will begin at 9 p.m. Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.

A native of Pensacola, Fla., Randall explained he became a fan of Stephen Curry because of his passion and the injuries he overcame on his way to stardom with the Warriors. He said he’s a fan of James, too, and he would have cheered for the Cavs if they had been matched up against the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals instead of the Warriors.

Naturally, many Cleveland fans don’t want to hear it.

“He definitely did a couple things that the Dawg Pound does not like, but it’s something that he has to deal with,” Browns cornerback TJ Carrie said. “And I think, to us, it’s something that we laugh and joke about and definitely something that we have to continue to watch for.”

Coach responds

Browns coach Hue Jackson addressed Randall’s social-media gaffe in a team meeting.

“What Damarious found out is that there’s a lot of passionate Cleveland fans here, and you’ve got to be careful about what you say,” Jackson said. “I don’t think he meant [to do] any harm. I think he has a love and a respect for [Steph] Curry, obviously. But I think he found out that, hey, look, in this city, it’s about the Cavaliers and LeBron James, and that’s the way we all talk about it.

“This is Damarious’ first year with us, and I’m sure there’s a lot of lessons learned. I’ve tried to take our team through those lessons because I think it’s important. So I don’t think we’ll have any more of those [problems] the rest of the way. But sometimes those things do have to happen, so we can remind ourselves exactly what social media can do, and it can put you in a tough spot.”

Not enough cash

Randall, 25, couldn’t possibly fulfill his promise, even though he doubled down five minutes after the original tweet was sent by writing on Twitter there’s a “100 percent chance” he would deliver.

The Cleveland fan base called his bluff.

“Don’t hit send,” Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “[The fans here are] passionate about sports, as they should be. Rich tradition in the Browns, for sure. Cavs have made history a number of times. Indians have done things that are special as well, too. [Randall] should have been smarter about the whole situation.”

Let’s just live in fantasy land for a minute and say Randall could get a bulk deal in which he would pay $25 for each jersey (he never specified what type of jerseys he would purchase, by the way). He would still need to pay more than $20 million for the order, not to mention find a way for everyone who retweeted him to actually obtain his or her jersey. Randall is scheduled to make $1,514,418 this year in salary and bonuses and $9,069,000 next year, according to the contract tracking website Spotrac.com. And it doesn’t sound like he’ll be receiving any loans from his coaches or teammates, either.

“I’m not paying one penny,” Jackson said.

Wait and watch

Asked whether he has a plan he can put into motion should the Cavs upset the Warriors, Randall said, “I mean, I guess we’ll have to watch the series and see.”

He later added, “Even if the Cavs do lose, I actually still plan on doing something for the fans. And if the Cavs win, obviously, things are going to get done.”

Obviously, things don’t always go according to plan, though.

For example, Randall intended to attend Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland, but now he’s unsure.

“I don’t think any Cleveland fans would sell me any tickets anymore,” Randall said.

As for interacting with those fans on Twitter again, Randall said he can’t do it now because his phone freezes every time he attempts to open the app.

“My phone literally just shuts down,” he said.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.