When one Cleveland Browns player messes up, the whole team pays the price. That’s the new accountability standard that first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens is holding the team to.
During Sunday’s padded training camp practice, tempers flared as defensive end Chad Thomas got into an extended scuffle with tight end Pharaoh Brown. The two got into a shoving match before teammates separated them.
ESPN’s Jake Trotter caught the incident on video. Thomas is No. 92 and Brown is wearing jersey No. 86.
Cooler heads might have prevailed, but there was still punishment to be served for the incident. Kitchens made the entire team run gassers following the fight.
Thomas apparently wasn’t too happy about it. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reported that Thomas — a player battling for a roster spot — flipped off a fan who yelled at him say, “Come on 92, hustle.”
Kitchens addressed the scuffle after practice while speaking to the media.
“Chad Thomas, as you guys see, is a very emotional, passionate guy,” Kitchens said. “I want those guys to play with passion. But he’s also a young guy, so he has to understand and develop a sense of when to move on.”
Thomas was a third round pick of the Browns last season out of Miami. He did not record any stats last season.
Brown was signed to the Cleveland practice squad last season before being elevated to the active roster in October. He hasn’t caught a pass in his two-year NFL career.
Freddie Kitchens Wants Browns to be Physical
Kitchens had made one thing very clear during his short time as the head coach of the Browns — he wants his team to be physical. While the scrap between Thomas and Brown took it to an extreme, it was a side effect of the team practicing with a high intensity.
“I think they understand we need to be a physical football team,” Kitchens said after Saturday’s practice. “I think they understand the division that we play in, we need to be a physical football team.
“I think that is the way they are going to approach each and every day, and I think they did a good job of that. The execution wasn’t there always, but that is fine. We have plenty of time to get the execution. I want to make sure the mindset is right.”
Kitchens hasn’t bought into much of the hype surrounding his team. While he’s excited to finally see his team in pads, he knows it’s still to be determined what this edition of the Cleveland Browns will look like when the opening kickoff on Sept. 8 against the Titans rolls around.
“This is the only business in the world that you hire 90 guys to fire half of them,” Kitchens said. “We are not the Browns yet. We are not the Cleveland Browns yet. We are a bunch of individuals trying to get jobs. In the course of getting jobs, you see who is going to be able to come together and create the Cleveland Browns. When we walk out onto that field, we want everyone to be proud of the product that is out there.”
Baker Mayfield Unleashes NSFW Rant at Wide Receivers
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has embraced taking on more of a leadership role in his second year. And the Browns are embracing it as well, letting Baker be Baker.
“Baker is going to be himself. He is not going to change for anyone. It does not matter, he is always going to tell you the truth. He is going to speak the truth,” Kitchens said in his press conference before training camp. “That is what I like about him. Everybody around him is going to know where they stand. I want all of our players to be themselves because if try to start being somebody you are not, you do not never know who you are. I want them be themselves.”
Last season, Mayfield only needed 13 starts to have a record-setting year, establishing himself as an NFL star. The No. 1 overall pick threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns as the Browns finished 7-8-1 and Mayfield set the record for touchdown passes by a rookie, which was previously held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.
During Saturday’s minicamp, Mayfield unleashed on some of his wide receivers with multiple F-bombs for giving up on a play during a scramble drill. Kitchens liked what he saw from his QB.
“I don’t know if they responded to him or not, but yeah, I expect my quarterback to get everybody on the same page,’’ he said. “That’s what I want.”