Former First-Round Pick Sends Cryptic Tweet With Browns Future in Flux

Getty Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield completes a pass to tight end David Njoku.

This season did not go as planned for Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku.

The Browns former first-round pick dealt with a broken wrist he suffered in Week 2 against the Jets that landed him on the IR. He then ended up in former head coach Freddie Kitchen’s doghouse after his return.

Njoku made it back into the lineup in Week 14, but dropped a ball that turned into an interception, leading him to be inactive the next two weeks. He suited up for the Browns final game of the season, but played just four snaps.

With Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey now gone, it’s unknown what Njoku’s status with the team will be going forward. He has one year left on his rookie deal plus a team option for a fifth season. And as the former 29th overall pick in the 2017 draft, the team will likely give him another shot to prove himself while healthy that he can be the team’s top tight end.

Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Omits David Njoku From Young Talent List

Owner Jimmy Haslam reeled off a list of the team’s young talent on Thursday when asked about the roster and bringing in a new regime, and Njoku’s name was suspiciously absent.

“If you look over the last couple of years, I think the first thing you have to do is really understand the players in place. It is really important to know your own team. Everybody looks at who we add, and I think it is really important also to look at who we subtract,” Haslam told reporters.

“Do not get me wrong, there could be some changes in the roster, but we have a pretty solid group of core players who are all extremely young. The other day, we just happened to have back to back [players] come in and talk to JW (Johnson) and me. (CB) Greedy (Williams), who is 22; (LB) Mack (Wilson), who is 21; (S Sheldrick) Redwine, who is 23 and (CB) Denzel (Ward), who is 22. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) is 24, and our old guys (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) are 27. It is a very young group. (DE) Myles (Garrett) is 24. That core group of players is very young. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to change that group.”

It is strange to list Redwine (fourth-round pick) and Wilson (fifth-round pick), but omit Njoku, who’s just 23.

Haslam’s press conference seemed to catch the eye of Njoku, who sent out a cryptic tweet around that time that seems to indicate he was likely listening.

David Njoku Unsure if he Will Return to Browns

Njoku said he loves it in Cleveland and is hoping to move past his turbulent third season in the NFL. But he has made it clear that he does not know exactly what his future holds with the Browns.

“I’m going to leave this past season where it is, in the past. And go from there,” Njoku told Mary Kay Cabot of “What happened yesterday happened and we have to move on from there.”

Njoku is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed. Last year, Njoku essentially doubled his production in the passing game from his rookie season, collecting 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns.

He had just five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown this year. Njoku understands it will take a large dose of hard work to prove the doubters wrong.

“The No. 1 thing is controlling the controllable. What do I need to do to become a better football player? That is exactly what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m going to work my ass off and focus on what I need to do to better my game in every aspect.”

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