Browns TE Stephen Carlson hopes there's a little karma in the fact he helped his college team go undefeated for the first time since 1964.

Stephen Carlson wasn't supposed to make it this far.

Coming out of Jamestown High School not far from the Ohio-New York line and just south of Lake Erie, he hoped he would attract an offer from the MAC school in his region, Buffalo.

That was a no go.

Plan B and years of sweat got him an offer from the Browns as an undrafted rookie out of Princeton. By now he is keeping an open mind about what might happen on and after the Browns cut the roster to 53 by Saturday.

"I never quite got an offer from Buffalo," the 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end said. "I was a little disappointed. I might have gone there. The way things have worked out, I guess it was better that I didn't."

Jamestown, N.Y., is the home of Lucille Ball and Roger Goodell. Carlson made a nice name for himself in football and basketball and as a class president at his high school.

He accepted an offer at Princeton and was a freshman in 2015, when Seth DeValve was a senior. DeValve is also trying to make the Browns as a tight end (he was a Round 4 draft pick in 2016).

"Seth has helped me out a lot, even from the moment I got signed," Carlson said. "He was texting me congrats. All the Browns tight ends have been very helpful. I've been pleasantly surprised. Seth in particular took me under his wing and guided me along."

It is crowded in what Carlson calls "a very talented tight end room." David Njoku was a first-round pick in 2017. Demetrius Harris jumped from Kansas City this year as a free agent. Gigantic Rico Gathers was signed recently.

In Friday's game at Tampa Bay, DeValve got 19 snaps at tight end. Pharaoh Brown received 13. Carlson got two.

But Carlson has looked good in camp. After several days, his confidence was strong, and he felt "completely at home." He hopes for an extended playing shift in Thursday's preseason finale against Detroit.

Carlson was a late bloomer, a nonfactor in his first two seasons at Princeton before breaking out for 71 catches, 935 yards and 11 touchdowns as a 2017 junior. He had 51 catches for the 2018 team that won the Ivy League and became Princeton's first unbeaten team since 1964.

Carlson weighed 190 pounds coming out of high school and 225 as a Princeton senior, when his position was wide receiver. He has been a workout warrior in recent years, impressing the Browns with his ability to muscle up to 240 pounds during the pre-draft cycle. They envisioned him as a tight end and offered him a contract.

"I may not be as fast as some guys,' Carlson said, "but I think my work ethic will come out at some point.

"Obviously, not many Ivy League guys make it, but I see myself like any other guy coming from any other school, trying to make it."

 

Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com

On twitter: @sdoerschukREP