Quarterback Brandon Weeden, whom the Browns drafted 22nd overall Thursday night, conducted his introductory news conference this afternoon. Here are some of the highlights:
Your reaction to being picked?:†"To hear your name called on that night is pretty special. Itís a dream come true for all of us. Weíre ready to start playing football. Weíve been doing all this other stuff, traveling, weíre ready to start playing football."
How comfortable are you to have Trent Richardson as a teammate?: "Very. I followed his career at Alabama. I told people last week, he was the best player in the country last year in college football. He was very, very dynamic. To turn around and hand the football to a guy like this, it can make a quarterback look really good at times. Heíll make your offense really go."
When you were playing minor league baseball, did you ever envision this?: "I always hoped this was the direction I wanted to go. It wasnít until 2006 when I realized I was going to go back and pursue football in the first place. I was still naÔve enough to think I could pitch in the big leagues. I found out real quick that wasnít going to happen. My junior year I continued to get better as a quarterback. I always dreamed of being in the exact same position I am today. Iím blessed. Itís an honor to be in this position."
Why did you decide to pursue baseball first?: "My senior year I was one of the better players coming out of Oklahoma state. I was throwing hard, projectability. To have the opportunity to be the first pick of the New York Yankees, with the opportunity to back to school and they pay for it. Itís too much as an 18 year-old kid to pass up. I wouldnít change my decision. I donít regret anything Iíve ever done. I was talking to a guy on the plane this morning, I think everything happens for a reason. Itís kind of funny how things work out. Iím blessed to be where I am right now."
Did people at Oklahoma State joke about your age?: "Obviously it was there. Iíve been consistent in my message the entire time. Itís a unique situation. The [Chris] Weinke comparison, but weíre two totally different guys. Itís there. The more I talked about it, the more conversations I had with this organization, they felt comfortable with it not being an issue. Iíve been saying that all along. My baseball background, the adversity Iíve been through, it really prepares me for what Iím about to go through. Being 28 years old, I use it as an advantage because my bodyís still fresh, I have a lot of football left in my tank. I never really saw any negatives other than I had to answer the question all the time. I really see it as a positive. I think itís going to help in the locker room. I think itís going to help me prepare on a daily basis to become the best player I can possibly become."
When did you have an epiphany that your baseball career was over: "I was playing in California in the High Desert (Mavericks). Low A. It was the worst experience of my life. The wind blew out at about 55 mph every single night, right center field. I gave up three broken bat home runs and my ERA was something astronomical, like 5.6, not good. I said, ĎItís not going to happen. Iím not going to make it.í I came home, my now wife, I said, ĎIím thinking about going back and playing college footballí and she said, ĎAre you crazy?í Iím like, ĎNaw, absolutely not, letís do it.í It was that Ď06 season. I didnít want to be a guy who spent 10 years in the minor leagues. I knew if it didnít work out, this is what I wanted to do. That í06 season was enough. I gave up a broken-bat home run, I almost got hit with the barrel and the ball went over the fence. Thatís for the birds."
What was the extent of you labrum injury?: "Iíve never had a surgery, Iíve never even broken a bone, knock on wood. Iíve been very fortunate. Throwing a baseball is completely different. I went through tendinitis, I went through a dead-arm phase, thatís just part of throwing 200 innings in a year. Itís tough to do that and stay healthy the entire time. Never had any surgeries. I had doctors at the combine say, ĎIf we did MRIs of 100 shoulders of pitchers from the major leagues, youíre going to find a little bit of something.í But thereís nothing serious.í Iíve thrown thousands and thousands and thousands of footballs at Oklahoma State, zero pain and I can actually sleep at night and didnít hurt. Iím going to come in and compete. Itís all about winning football games. Iím going to bust my tail to go that direction. Playing quarterback in this league is demanding. Iím going to be learning a whole new system. But itís something I have a passion for. Iíll do everything in this power to help this team win football games."
Have you talked to Colt McCoy and what do you think about his future?: "I havenít run into Colt. As far as the other stuff, thatís out of my control. Iím here to compete. Thatís a management decision. Iím blessed to be in this position."